Bringing a Story to Life – Inviting the Reader into the Room

wine-by-log-fireSo, I’m busy working on Adjudication, the final book in the Metatron’s Army series.

 

It is no longer Book 10.  It is currently book 12.

I am working on a scene of passion, a scene I’ve mentally rehearsed for several months, tweaking as other subplots were drawn in over time.  I ran into the typical challenges, which usually involve pacing.

I tend to race through first drafts, just putting down a foundation that will later be filled in/built up around.

Once the initial work is done I can go back for an additional pass.

This pass is still part of the first draft but it’s like adding a few more finishing nails.

At this stage, I step back and watch the characters as an outsider.

As the reader would.

677240Wearing the dual hat of reader and writer, I assess the scene, determine how to move forward to fill in the details.  This generally requires me putting myself in the character’s place(s) to a degree, which allows me to answer questions such as

  • What are they doing here?
  • What are they feeling and why?
  • What do they need to accomplish and how long do they have?

The answers will drive action and any mental/emotional reflections the characters indulge in.

Take It Off.  Undressing can play a critical role in a scene of passion.  It can help build up anticipation, perhaps motivate fantasies, or allow feelings of love and happiness to amplify.  In terms of writing it can help pace the scene and set up the answer(s) to the above questions.

In this particular scene, the female is going to undress the male.  It’s the middle of the night and she had been sleeping.  The male is in a Dynamic academy uniform which means to get him out of it, one of them has to unzip the uniform and either peel it off of him or have him step out of it.

So, I’ve already provided information that suggests they have plenty of time to accomplish this slowly but – we don’t at this point know their mindsets.  He may resist.  She might be groggy from having been asleep.  How does this affect the act of getting him out of the uniform?

As a writer, I zoom in further and think about the actual act of unzipping the uniform.  In this scene, the female is going to do this.  When she reaches for the zipper, if she just tugs, it will probably accomplish nothing other than to tug it away from the guy’s body.  She needs to put a hand on his chest/shoulder to hold the uniform while she draws the zipper down.  And how far does she unzip?  Inches?  All the way to his waist?

For this scene, yes.

Then what? Well, she has some options.

  • Slide a hand through the opening
  • Lean forward and kiss the pulse beating at the base of his throat
  • Work to get him out of the uniform
  • Let him take the next step

There are a number of other options, of course, but I think you get the idea.  So, for this scene, she wants to get him out of it. How?  Again, I put myself in her shoes and think, “If it was me, I’d put my hands to the shoulders and push the uniform back and off.”

I write it more cleanly but that’s the gist.

Then What?  How does he react?  What does he do next?

He might grab her hands and look into her eyes.

What does she do next?

She might push the uniform down over his hips.

Stopping the progress of the draft itself in order to zoom in on scenes is just one of the tools I use for rounding out the story, filling in the details that make it real.

To draw the reader in.

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