"he discovered that in his bed he had been changed into a monstrous verminous bug."A Lesson by scatterbrain
in media res
Scenes are not a necessity for good writing. For poems and speculative writing, all that’s necessary is the philosophical, informative breath and good organization (paragraphs or stanzas).
Scenes are necessary for good stories, though. The progression of characters through struggle and life through time is the very definition of fictional scenes. One cannot tell a story of the fire inside the bowling alley started by the drinking teenagers without writing of teenagers drinking and setting a fire in the bowling alley. To convey such a scene as I just have, it loses all merit of being a story and becomes a statement.
This much should be quite obvious, but the difficult task of a writer is deciding what scenes to write, where to start in those scenes, and where to end said scene. The idea/story will speak to you, and you must have the tools to speak back (I will tell you of one tool, grasshopper!).
A grasp on one’s environment and reality helps; because in order to progress a nonexistent person’s thoughts and actions, one must know how people of different perspectives react in situations. Once one has such mental tool, they will be able to master the scene, and not only write one, but start in media res.
‘Into the middle of things’.
Once you know you want to write a scene about a bowling alley on fire because of pesky, drunk teenagers, then you need to consider the 1) best time to enter the scene and 2) the best vantage point for your perspective/point-of-view. Rather than start the action with the teens entering the alley (drinking and jumping around), start twenty minutes later when they’ve set the Candy-Grab machine on fire. They’re drunk and scared because of this fire, and they scream that they just wanted the candy. Humor? Or the fire starts when one of the fools throws the bowling bowl straight into the air, where it hits a neon pipe and goes into the ceiling. A gaseous explosion, ceiling falls in? Tragedy/drama? The most drunk teen gets angry that he’s hit the gutter three times, and shoots a fireball from his hand? Fantasy?
Okay. That was a long block of text to read… let’s finish here. Lesson learned; immediately throw your reader in media res, where the most compelling writing is done.
For another expanded example, here’s Conan’s twist of the concept, by purposely throwing the viewers into the middle of a Walker Texas Ranger episode… and humor ensues.
Gimme your best stories using this concept, throwing the
reader into the middle of a scene. The twist: you have to write 3 stories, all
under 45 words. The minimum is one word. Post your work onto WritersCafe and
add it to our Scattersbrain,Unite writing. Extra examples below, and my own
will be posted after this.
A couple of examples:
1)dale hid his candy bar under the house where no one would find it, but the ants ate it. It was his Christmas present.
2) Six blind men followed each other into a pit. The six deaf men didn’t hear their cries for help.
3) When Tory’s imaginary friend ate the Lifesavers, Dad left him on the side of the road.
Added on September 13, 2010
Last Updated on September 13, 2010
About8/24 - I'm not going to critique another poem on this site unless it blows my mind.