To start, a bit of a link-a-palooza.
Previous post about TAC.
Details of Scene Unseen assignment.
All caught up? Good.
Jamie and I have had a great couple of assignments recently that have really got the creative juices flowing (hey, a cliché a day keeps the publisher away). The first was entitled simply “The Evil(ish) One” and was about our own main character meeting the secondary character from the other story. At first I was a bit stumped, but luckily I realised that the events of my previous ‘chapter’ gave me a neat way to make this happen and provide a bit of oomph to my main character via a cup of lemon and ginger tea.
The second, set by me, was something a little different: writing a scene from the secondary character’s POV. It wasn’t (originally – more on that at a later date!) going to be included in the final edit of the story – hence the title: Scene Unseen. However, both Jamie and I (I think I can speak for both of us when I say this!) are very character-driven writers, and when we ‘feel’ or ‘see’ a particular scene then we tend to write it from a particular ‘voice’ that we hear. Consequently, switching to a different POV was going to be interesting – but a way in which we could get under the skin of the other character and, perhaps, better represent them and their motivations in our main story.
I had the scene all planned out in my head with key conversations, extra characters and where it would finish. Hurrah, thought I, this’ll be easy! Discussing the Jamie mid-week threw up that he was finding it tougher than expected to get into the head of his alternate character (for various reasons that I’m not going to divulge here – but suffice to say that Cal has quite an interesting back story). But writing is never what you think its going to be. Up came the bait and switch. Or the switch, anyway. Jamie finished the challenge early, and I struggled to get going.
I tried a few times to write the scene I saw, but felt it drifting off, dribbling away. So I stopped trying. I gave it a few days. I went out into the garden and dug weeds. I didn’t even think about writing. And then it came.
I’ve described writing as akin to screen printing. The first go through you apply a base colour – the key dialogue, set pieces, whatever. Then you go over it again with different colours – adding in exposition, a few twists and turns, highlights, shadows. And it was this approach that got me through. The initial draft was very much the bare bones, then came the added extras, then a bit more polish.
I’m not saying that it would exactly be publishable, but Jamie’s response was:
Just read your Scene Unseen. Wow.
I’m not trying to be smug or conceited. It was actually a nice surprise as I thought it was a bit mediocre. Consequently, I’m glad that it did what it was supposed to do!
Unfortunately alongside the scene unseen aspect we were supposed to add 5 more pages of writing to the main story, and I haven’t done that yet. And there’s another 5 pages to add for this week’s free write assignment.
The things we do, eh?
You can read about Jamie’s comments on this assignment here.
In the mean time, have a picture of some tulips…