Thursday, January 20, 2011

Stolen from Dybek: Scene

First, a good song:

Now, a little something I'd like to call, "Stolen from Dybek."

My writing class has been particularly interesting this quarter, and though oftentimes advice on writing is common sense, or at least repeated enough that it feels like it, I thought he had a lot of great things to say on writing. So I'm going to paraphrase the gems and hope that his original advice remains intent. I'll try to keep a basic topic with each post, since I'm taking an entire class on writing with him. Without further ado, here is Part 1:


1) Writing Necessitates showing. Showing necessitates scene.

Which leads to...

2) Writers think in scenes. Readers think in narrative.

I'm not sure if I agree completely with this one. Let me tweak it: When you're writing, don't think in terms of a reader. Concentrate on scene. If you just SAY what happens next, you won't necessarily be able to reel a reader into your story. But if a character does something to push the plot forward, then you'll get the reader hooked.

This could be boiled down to the tried and true basic writing advice:



3) Dialogue is the most powerful action in a scene. It's the fastest way to move in fiction.

I think he said this because when you're writing pure exposition, it's easy to get lost in "and then this happened," but dialogue forces you to stay in scene. Dialogue is a tricky thing, and the best writers have screwed it up.

Pop culture reference: I saw a free preview of NO STRINGS ATTACHED last night with Natalie Portman and Ashton Kutcher. It was funny, witty, and fairly well done. It's not Inception, but I liked it. However, there is a line in there (and I won't tell you where) when a character says: If you come any closer, I'll never let you go.


Now it's not that this dialogue is bad (though let's be honest: It's seriously cheesy) but it's COMPLETELY out of character! It ruined the scene! It made me sad. And it's only partially related to my overall point. But please. Make sure your dialogue is in character, and not like Cheetos (dangerously cheesy).


Agree? Disagree? Advice is always subjective, and there are exceptions to every rule. But you probably shouldn't break a rule until you know how to follow it, so go write! Now!

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