Happy Sunday, Readers! If you happen to be reading this on a day other than Sunday, well, I hope it’s a good day whenever you are.
I discovered something this week while I was working on a scene that wasn’t, you know, working.
The scene was from the point of view of the antagonist, who was supposed to be reacting badly to one of their minions failing.
I’d been over it a few times and every time it seemed like it worked, but something just wasn’t clicking into place.
I came at it from a number of directions. Was it the dialogue? Was it the movement of the characters (There were three in this scene)? Did a character disappear? What was I missing?
Now to be fair, there were things I could tweak in all of the above–there’s always something you can tweak. But I couldn’t put my finger on it…until I could.
I’m not going to pretend to be able to tell you where the answer came from. I don’t know. Maybe it came from any number of things that had been stewing in the old mental cookpot, back there on the back burner. Maybe it came from The Muse–and yes, I do believe in her. Maybe I’ll get into that one day, but one moment, I had no idea what was going on…and then I did.
Or, again to be fair, I suspected. So perhaps The Muse didn’t give me an answer. She gave me a Question:
Is this really the way they’d be in this scene, or is it the way *You* would move through this scene?
I’ve said it before–maybe not here on the blog yet, but I’m going to now:
Answers are easy. Asking the right question is the hard part.
This was, of course, the right question. I was inserting way too much of myself into the scene.
Once I’d realized that, I went back and, of course, changed dialogue, movement, gave a few more lines to a character who had, in fact disappeared a bit.
The difference was that I did it with the characters foremost in mind.
Now before the idea takes hold, let me tell you that you will *Never* be able to keep yourself out of your work. Not if it’s you doing it. You’re always going to be in there, and that’s a good thing. The one thing that makes your work different from all the other stuff out there…
You Need You in there.
But, you can overdo it. It’s a balancing act, and it’s hard to spot when you’re off balance in this regard since everything seems natural to Reader You.
The good news is that once you know what to look for, you’ll be able to find it.
Thanks for reading. Be safe out there. Be Excellent to Each other – and yourself.
I’ll see you on Thursday.
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