Monday, June 27, 2011

Summary to Scene, Sort of

I had a scene in what is now Chapter 29 of Heirs that until tonight was not technically a scene at all, but all summary. You know the bits in which Tolkien or Rowling or whoever disposes of days or weeks of story time in a few paragraphs? This was one of those. But without a bit of actual scene to anchor it, the description of Li's behavior during this period was all tell, no show. This deficiency has been bothering me for years.

Tonight I at least got a line of dialogue in, and a few specific actions to make the beginning of the passage into an actual scene:

“Early again, Li?” Teri Dibel asked.
Li nodded, but did not bother to answer as he hurried to Captain Perton’s office. The first day after his arrest and release, Li had managed to grovel his way onto a City patrol. ’Nishmû willing, he might win a similar assignment today, but only if there was still room on the roster. Otherwise he would try for Gate duty on one of the exit lines. Sooner or later, the traitor girl would either meet with dissidents or try to leave the City. When she did, Li was determined to be the one to capture her, abating his earlier mistake.
Once inside the Wall, he looked over Captain Perton’s shoulder at the half-completed roster, and his spirits rose. Perton had put him in charge of six trained Rovers, on patrol through the merchant district. Li accepted the undeserved honor with a smile and a heartfelt salute. Perton grumpily waved him off, sending him on his way

Not the best bit in the book by any means, but it's much less clunky than it was.


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