Posted by Eileen Astels
I received a critique back earlier this week and one of my wonderful critique partners pointed out that the contents of one of my sentences would be better shown with the use of several scenes, than told in that single grouping of words.
Here it is:
"He had a lot to learn with only being a Pastor for five months, but he could learn a whole lot faster without the popular dramatic intros that Emmanuel's members were prone to give."
The fact that this is one long sentence, with a repetitive factor as well, should have been enough to call my attention to it. It's not very well written, I admit. In fact, another wonderful crit partner of mine narrowed in on this mess as well, and suggested altering it to the following.
"Having been a pastor for only five months, he had a lot to learn. But he could learn a whole lot faster without the slow intros that Emmanuel’s members were prone to give."
This is a definite improvement. Yes. But I like the idea of showing this information, too. Partly because I need to add word count, but also because it provides the base for scenes with conflict, action, and even humor. By converting this information into scenes that will also move the story forward, I can accomplish several things.
1) Reveal the POV character, his emotions and conflicts more fully.
2) Provide concrete evidence of what he deals with.
3) Introduce several more important characters in an entertaining and useful way.
4) Allow the reader to draw their own conclusions about these parishioners without first being told of his own impression.
So, have you ever turned a single sentence in that first draft into a set of scenes? Will you try to now? It reminds me a little of the snowflake concept, only caught a little later than intended. I'd best get working on those scenes now.
Until next time, may your writing shine and come naturally to you!