What ideas did you find most helpful? What ideas of your own do you wish to share? We’d love to hear from you!
1)If the event touches the original wound of the protagonist, it deserves a scene, not summary.
2) Keep the people in the room: don't rush them away from the scene.
I'm repeating an exercise I did after a much earlier draft, reviewing each scene and chapter for an arc, what changes for the characters or the plot, whether it's positive or negative, where there's tension and intention, where a door closes, and conversely, where my 3 POV characters are mostly just repeating what the reader already knows. It's already shown me one chapter I can eliminate, and I'm hoping it will tell me what to do about a later chapter that no longer makes sense.
Also, a good reminder that readers will remember best what's in scene, not in summary, but summary can provide narrative distance, for something too painful for the character to face.
Finding a balance between how people actually speak, and the work necessary to make the dialog interesting and so that it moves the story forward.
Two authors who come to mind who have brilliant ears for dialog are Richard Price (Clockers) and Cormac McCarthy.
I've been experimenting with overlapping dialog
"I was thinking about --"
"You never respond to what I say"
"-- how we talk to each other."
Feels real, but tricky to do well.
Henriette's "OH NO, HONEY!" technique was terrific. It reminded me of that cringe moment in comedy: where you know the MC is going to do something stupid, and you cringe but can't help but continue to watch. I've been watching Frasier of late, which is excellent for noting when a scene begins and ends; they put up an intertitle card between scenes, which is reminiscent of silent films and adds another layer to the scene. Also loved Sandra's explanation how a scene's change actually contributes to the overall change no matter how small the scene change is.
Also loved the references to iconic stories (Eve and Adam, Hansel and Gretel), and how turning points often show shifting power dynamics. In some crucial scenes in my book, multiple shifts occur, as this dynamic seesaws. Something changes--often it's a door that was closed, opens, then shuts again-- but (especially early in the book) the outcome is still very much up in the air. Any thoughts on this?