The reasons for this blog: 1. To provide basic author information for students, teachers, librarians, etc. (Please see sidebar) 2. I think out loud a lot as I work through writing projects, and I'm trying to dump most of those thoughts here rather than on my friends.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Trying to think...I'm working on grounding a scene (my scenes usually start out floaty and I have to go back and ground them in place and time), and this scene is very much like a scene later in the story, one that I already went to the trouble of grounding. I thought, hey, I can just pull the setting and physical details, move them up here, and trim them to fit. Because I don't have to use the second scene at all, do I?*

But then I thought, wait a minute, maybe I can do more with the second scene than just cannibalize it. The scenes are similar--is there something that can be shown by contrasting the way the character responds in the first scene with the way he does in the second? Is there something I can get across by doing this? Something about the character arc?

I don't know if there is or not. That's what I'm trying to think. What does the character learn in the book? Self-control, for one thing. Distrust. Thought before action. So, is there anything he is unable to do in the first scene, that he can do in the second? Or vice versa?

I do see one path I could take. I have some stuff from earlier versions, about the character's regrets during the first scene. It would fit right in if I keep that and develop it, then during the second scene show him having learned from those regrets. The only problem is that I've led the reader away from this aspect of the character recently.

What I have to do, I think, is make sure I have a grip on what makes this character respond to crisis with action, and what makes him totally lose it. That's going to be tough to get across--that the character is both cool-headed and a loose cannon. I need to understand it better or the characterization will come off as inconsistent.

I know that he's a good guy to have around in a crisis if the situation calls for immediate, gut-level response. Like pushing a stranger out of the way of a speeding car. But if the situation is more complex--especially if there is no clear, quick action to take--he can become a problem. And--I think this is what's hanging me up--his ability to respond goes out the window when his own tragedy hits. You'd think that anybody who has the presence of mind to leap in front of a speeding car and push someone out of its path would keep that presence of mind 24/7, no matter what. At least, the reader is probably going to assume so.

This is very, very tricky.

*I don't know the answer to this anymore because I no longer know what the exact path to the ending is.

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