clues at the scene

clues at the scene

Tuesday, November 6, 2018

The Scene I Have to Write

A public domain image at left of a first folio edition of Shakespeare's plays. Image hosted on wikicommons.

I'm sure it happened to the bard. There are scenes don't work well in the end and are cut or changed or mashed into some other scene.

We have to write them in the draft.

I call it "hamming it up" -- where there seems to be a payoff scene I want so badly to write but I know that in the end I'll probably cut or re-craft it to a fraction of what I desire to compose.

I have a story about a Madoff-style grift in action. We never see the end as the payoff in the story is a relationship change between two principal characters. 

For years, each draft included the beautiful explanation of the intricacies of the fraud. The story suffered for it. In the final draft, the fraud is just a passing thing described as if a baseball game. There's "Tiger's won 2-to-1 in the eleventh" and there's the detail description of every pitch in the last three innings.

I find scenes I have to write. I have to get them out. They're close to the pitch-by-pitch business above.

I hope now that on the "second pass" I will clean-up all this indulgence because I know when I start out on the page the first time that I'm wasting the ink.

These scenes make us happy. I at least have to write them. They encourage the longer work.

I wonder at what scenes Shakespeare "had" to draft that he later discarded as indulgent?

I wonder if he had any? Did he tell himself the story over and over until he'd pared down all the fluff before he took up the pen?

I'd like to know.

He paid more for his ink than I do mine. Did he place a higher value on committing it to paper?


Elizabeth Spann Craig said...

I like your story concept. :)

And interesting thoughts. Easier to write junk when we don't have to struggle with a typewriter (that correction tape! Ugh) or pay a premium for ink, like the Bard.

I'm dealing with the opposite now. I have a series that probably has only 1-2 more books in it at most. The last book I wrote (coming out at the end of the month) was very, very lean. A beta reader told me it just 'wasn't fun,' although she liked the mystery itself. After spending a couple of weeks tediously infusing 'fun,' I'm really sick of the book. Jealous of you and your indulgent scenes!!

jack welling said...

Yea, it is indulgent but I'm not yelling things out my library door like "clean up, aisle four, chapter seven." Nobody around here with the mop but me.

Having the end of a series. Sad.

Shouldn't the NYT do some sort of expose on these little "cozy towns" with the abnormally high murder rate? Maybe the FBI moves in. At least: a sociology professor.

Back at it! I have criminals I've left on their own. Who knows what trouble they've caused in my library?

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