Write Time in scenes by Janice Seagraves

 

Writing Time In Scenes

by Janice Seagraves

 

Hi, my name is Janice Seagraves.

Today, I thought I’d talk about time in writing. I don’t mean the day or week or month, but the speed in which things happen. Have you ever had someone tell you that your scene went too fast or maybe the opposite, your scene was very slow? And not in a good way.

Here’s some tips on how to fix that.

First, if your scene is going fast, you can odd more detail to slow it down. Believe me this trick works. Don’t know what to add in? Then I suggest describing what is happening in minute detail. Add in colors, textures, how things smell. Was the scent in the area nice, sour, or did it smell like something died? Maybe there is a background buzz that is irritating or soothing one of your characters? Add in details in all its glory: the good, the bad, and the ugly. Go deeper into your characters’ feelings. Add a pause as something else happens.

I had a scene that my critique partners said went too fast, so I added in more detail, more feelings, and more internal dialogue of one of the main characters. Then as they headed out, I wrote a pause. The heroine speaks to someone, while the hero is chumping at the bit to get her walking again then takes her arms and drags her down the road. And having one character wanting to leave the area, while the other is speaking to a secondary character can make the scene tense.

If you need to speed up a scene, then you’ll need to lose some of the detail. One time I added what in the business is called a ticking clock to speed things up. One of the characters is urging the others to hurry. His frustration shows whenever anything slows down. Have the characters speak in quick, short bursts.  One liners. No long dialogues. And if there is only two characters, you can leave off some of the dialogue tags. No one ambles anywhere in this scene. It’s all dashing, sprinting, and doing things fast.

Blog Post

It was my turn to post on Romance Books ‘4’ Us Blog.

I wrote about how I handled harsh critiques. And it has one of my vlogs attached to it.

Please like and subscribe.

https://romancebooks4us.blogspot.com/2019/03/harshcritiques-harsh-critiques-by.html

How to write a critique

 

How to write an honest critique

By Janice Seagraves

 

The first publisher I worked with suggest that I work with a critique group to help improve my writing. Since then, I’ve been working on critiques nearly every couple of weeks for the last ten years. And in that time, I’ve gone through five critique groups and I even took a workshop on critiquing.

Here are some things to consider if you have been asked to do a critique or are doing critiques or possibly beta reading someone’s work.

Please keep in mind that this is someone’s baby.

They most probably have slaved away at this manuscript for months if not years.

So be kind.

They may not have ever had any feed back on their work before this.

Say nice things about the pages or manuscript you’re working on.

If you find misspelled words, simply correct it within the pages and move on, or leave a comment in a comment bubble: “I think you mean this word.” Everyone at some point will have problems misspelling a word or using a word that spelled just a little different than the word that they mean to use. Or maybe it’s a typo. We all have those brain fart moments. Don’t make a big deal about it. Just correct the spelling and move on.

One of the moderators for a critique group I work with likes to say, “Sugar and spice. Mark what you like as well as what needs work.”

If nothing else, compliment the genre they chose to write their story in.

I find that if you compliment the writer first, then they are more likely to consideration the changes you are suggesting.

And remember, it’s suggestions. You are producing a critique and they didn’t hire you to be an editor.

All critiques should be in the body of the pages you’re working on.

Use the comment bubbles in edit format.

I always go through the story first before I write a note at the start of the pages.

The note will usually start with why I like their story.

For example: Vampires stories are a very popular right now. Or I love your characters. I can totally picture them. Or this scene was very exciting and really grabbed  me.

Next, I’ll drop down to a new paragraph and write: Good Job. 😊

And then I’ll start another paragraph that usually begins with: and now for the critique.

Sometimes I’ll write that their pages were well written, and I only needed to mark a few things here and there. That will relax and ease your critique partner. Up to his point they might be really tense.

And then I’ll go to things I noticed.

Things to watch out for.

Maybe it was: You used look and looked a lot so I highlighted all I could find.

And then I’ll finish the note with this disclaimer: This is my opinion only. Please take it with a grain of salt. Use what works and toss the rest. And with every critique your mileage will vary.

Janice~

 

Passive Writing

Turning Passive Writing into Active Writing

By Janice Seagraves

 

Since I’ve been seeing a lot of passive writing in the critiques I’ve been doing here lately, I thought I’d do a vlog on passive writing.

 

What do I mean by passive writing?

 

Have you ever heard of show and don’t tell?

 

Passive example: Rose was mad.

 

What’s wrong with the above sentence? Not much really. It does what it’s supposed to do, it tells us Rose is mad. But it doesn’t show us that Rose is mad.

 

Active writing example: Rose slammed the door closed then stomped through the room. “That jerk!” Picking up a flower filled vase, she hurled it against the wall where it shatters.

 

Not a real great example but you get the idea. Notice I used the words: Stomped and Hurled. These are active verbs. I wanted to show action and anger even in my word choice.

 

Passive writing is that, passive. It doesn’t show the reader anything.

 

Have you noticed while watching a movie that when an actor portraying a character that is mad, he doesn’t just frown. He stomps, shouts and will nearly always breaks something. He’s showing us he’s angry. And in writing, we need to show it too.

 

Another example: Rose was sad and wanted to cry.

Again, there is nothing wrong with this sentence, but it’s still telling up and not showing us how the character Rose feels.

Active writing example: She closed the door and leaned on it. A tear worked its way past her control. She rubbed the wetness off her face with an impatient swipe of her fingers.

You can see here that I’m conveying the feeling of sadness without telling you she was sad.

Year of the Cat book trailer

 

 

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Blurb:

Morgan isn’t expecting romance when she accompanies her friend for a week of skiing, but when she meets Jared all bets are off.
Jared has secrets that he doesn’t mind sharing with a special lady, and he hopes Morgan is that special someone. When his past and present collide it’s worse than he imagined, and he’s forced to fight for his life.

heart knot

Excerpt:

“Morgan, open up.” The woman pounded on the door again.

Unlocking the door, Morgan stepped back so her mother could enter. “Mom, this is Jared. The man I’ve been seeing. Jared this is my mom, Alice Brookhaven.”

“Good day, Mrs. Brookhaven.” He held out his hand.

Instead of shaking his hand, she scanned him up and down. “No belt or tie.”

“Hardly anyone wears a belt and tie anymore.” Morgan snorted.

“What’s with his hair?” Alice stared. “Did you dye it that color?”

He ran his hand over his mane. “This is natural.”

“Orange?”

Morgan frowned at her mother. “It’s a type of red, Mom. Lots of Scotts are redheaded.”

Alice gave her a sharp look before turning back to Jared. “Did one of your parents have hair that color?”

“I donna remember.” His heart twisted at the thought of his parents.

“Are you an orphan?”

“Aye.” As the deep emptiness filled him, he slumped against the wall staring down. “That I am. I have not even a photo of me mum and da to know which of them had red hair.”

“Oh, sorry to hear that.” Mrs. Brookhaven stared at his bare feet then checked her daughter’s, too. “Were you both naked when I called?”

“Huh?” Surprised at the accuracy of her guess, he baulked. He didn’t want to tread on dangerous ground with this woman. Jared glanced at Morgan for assistance.

Morgan threw her hands in the air. “Oh, Mom, you didn’t give us much notice.”

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