1/25/07: Progress report

When I got home from work last night, drained from a minor work emergency, I really didn't want to sit down and write. But I did.

There's a scene late in my novel A Partial History where the two main characters sit down over bad coffee and several pages of scribbled notes in a borrowed kitchen. It's a quiet sort of scene but incredibly important because the two have to make amends for the tension that's existed since the beginning of the story -- and they have to take an important step toward becoming lovers.

In this new version of the scene, all this has to happen, plus I need to resolve a subplot. Fortunately I've thought of a weaselly, hinting way out of the subplot and that'll have to do for now. As soon as I get this scene right, I can strike #3 from the list of GC's 3 suggested edits.

Just from the way I'm talking about this story, Ican see the cinematic influences in my work. I tend to think in scenes, in visual scenes. I want all that's important to be dramatized and visual. I really hate exposition. I don't exactly hate it, but I have a hair-trigger gag reflex for exposition. I get extremely uncomfortable with more than a short paragraph of it.

Sometimes this is a real drawback -- trying to work exposition (necessary exposition) into longer scenes, the writing can feel choppy. Like a loaf of Wonderbread with slices of rye shuffled in.

More often, though, ruthlessly pruning exposition helps the story run faster and lighter. The stuff the reader needs to know can be incorporated in dialoge (so long as I avoid the notorious trope, "As you know, Bob...") and a little exposition can be dropped in (like carroway seeds!) where absolutely necessary.

So: 1 page of this new scene completed. Thanks, Jim.