clues at the scene

clues at the scene

Thursday, December 13, 2012


The problem is that we become enamored with a couple of lines. It happened below. << link here >>

This was a short bit that had a couple of lines I liked."Sentient" and "empty."

We sense an emotional conflict in the protagonist though we're not sure which character it might be. [ WTF syndrome]. We know "empty" means something important.

What we don't have is a good grasp of the conflict. We don't have tension. We only have a little cute dialogue.

These are the things that register late on my BS meter.

Change the mechanic to a woman. Get rid of the trite phrase in the opening line ("far reaching") . Let the reader find out WHY the Volvo's breakdown is a critical problem at this very moment. Show us more reticence on the part of the protagonist to accept a ride - don't just hesitate and reach for the door. Since "empty" has Stasi-like implications in the story (not illustrated in current form) , show them. Have the mechanic say something about it. Make her win him over and show that despite his wariness she does so in a disarmingly quick fashion. Open the door so that isolation - his choice existence - need not confine him to loneliness (a key element in his emotional conflict).

If he is afraid of a control apparatus employed by the state, show his fear.

Sounds like a different story now, doesn't it. What I have below is a snippet of something cute. I wrote it briefly in a writing group and liked the sentient Volvo and "empty" (meaning without the constant connection to a social network - also inadequately illustrated). I liked the potential isolation of a character in a connected world. I conceived of "emotica" as a counterpart to internet porn ... where subscribers borrow the emotional/sensory content of someone else's intimate experiences in lieu of their own. I liked a character living for his own experiences in isolation where the interconnected masses fail to experience their own in lieu of this "emotica" experience.

That sounds a little better. I wrote about 5% of that in my little bit below and even in it managed to avoid the presentation of a sense of the conflict, the tension that provides meaning to the character's actions. So the protagonist crawls into a truck with a stranger - a mechanic AAA type service (cute name). So what ?

I read a great deal as a boy. Books were my greatest friend. My uncle would caution me about the words : "knowing is not the same as doing."

I'll cut another version. I think my Hemingway-issue Bullshitometer is working. It's just takes a couple hours to warm up. I might have to invest in a solid-state model and let this old vacuum tube issue device retire to the shelf.

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