This week: Where Am I?Edited by: Leger~
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This week's Action / Adventure Editor
Where Am I?
In screenwriting, some of the most important things you write are where your actors are placed. Stage left? Exit stage right? Move to position?
This is also important in writing scenes in your story. Help your reader by setting your characters in position so they can easily imagine the scene. The viscount entered the drawing room and stood before the fireplace, one hand resting on the mantle and the other at his forehead. You didn't need to explain in detail what the mantle looks like, or the flower arrangement sitting just below the picture hung there. You can, if it becomes important or you can do well to skip over the flowery details.
"Blocking" is a term used in theater and film. Figuring out where everyone is positioned and then moving them throughout the scene is important, you want the main characters highlighted, while the bit players fill in around them. We certainly don't want them stumbling over each other unless it is your intention. In theater, moving parts of the set have to have a clear path. In the same way, if your character is going to jump on a horse and ride off into the sunset, make sure it's sunset, and make sure there's a horse available. You don't want your character looking around for a horse when he's trying to make a dramatic exit. It's important to know where your characters are and what they're doing as you reach important plot points in your story. Grandma cannot be outside hanging laundry and at the same time be inside imparting her wisdom to her grandson.
If you're a person who likes to outline their story rather than write by the seat of their pants, consider blocking out where your characters are as you outline. For you pantsers, set up some chess pieces on your desk while you write or edit and don't lose anyone overboard.
As always, I hope you find this helpful, and Write On!
This month's question: Do you block out where your characters are positioned as you write?
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Excerpt: “At last, you’ve returned,” piped a reedy voice from the corner.
Excerpt: “Ian, it’s Petra... Ian?... Ian?... are you there, Ian?”
Excerpt: Her best friend, Phoebe, rushed in. “Jennifer, why did you let Phillip bait you like that? You know, he wants the vice presidency position, too.”
Jennifer turned the chair to face Phoebe, and sighed. “I know!”
Excerpt: “Mum used to bring me down here when I was a baby” Sally said, staring up at the arched brick roof.
Excerpt: All three of us thought ourselves competent. We believed we could handle ourselves in any situation, and at seventeen we were super fit and up to date with our survival training.
Excerpt: The full moon played hide and seek with the clouds high in the sky. The surf pounded the coastline relentlessly spraying white foam against the rocky shore. Each wave reached higher than the last, like fingers trying to gain purchase on the rocks only to be pulled inexorably back to sea.
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This month's question: Do you block out where your characters are positioned as you write?
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Last month's "Action/Adventure Newsletter (May 12, 2021)" question: Have you had an experience with a ghost?
Kåre Enga, P.O. 22, Blogville : I believe that 'respect' is key to any character who isn't from your time, place, planet, culture. Otherwise they are merely a flat-nothing, a stereotype to be mocked (as is common in American culture... think cowboys&indians). I like Mes (pronounced Met) in "He's coming to me". He's just a ghost that can't move on befriended by a young boy, Thun, who grows up and takes him to his apartment. There is nothing spooky and though a romance blooms it's basically a mystery (Who is Med and how did he die?). P'Med is 'real' in a more-than-Casper way. Thun can see ghosts and speaks to them. It doesn't rely on Thai superstitions about ghosts; it could... it just doesn't.
Trailer in comment "Note: View this Note"
TheBusmanPoet : Yes. I've written twice about it.
Sabujava Kumar Chatterjee : I've a several experiences.
This is truth with a various flavours.
But, it will be better if I allow to deliver those experiences with some short stories. I give you assurance that you will be enjoy these.
Olivia - 1st vac shot on 6/18! : You could say so.
It's more of a hallucinational / magical thinking way, though, as it concerning mainly family already passed away:
my parents, my dog, most recently my substitute dad, Jürgen, a close friend of my past dad who told him to keep an eye on mum and me. For the physicists among you: mum and I were like matter and antimatter = Crash! Boom! Bang!
For example, I'd have my scalp start to prickle all of a sudden and then a chill trailing down my back, making me shudder. When that happened frequently, but no one was there when I turned or inspected the house for intruders, I realized what that "sense of being stared at" might mean: communication via physical means of someone being still there.
Or, more concretely, I would see shades of my parents whisked by on the way to kitchen, bathroom, bedroom, office or living room, and / or Jürgen, who's been at my place several times, to visit with my parents and I but also to help me move back to Luxembourg after my parents left.
I heard their voices and laughter coming from the living room, and for a moment the familiar scenes flashed by of us having drinks, food and a smoke while having a good laugh.
At Jürgen's funeral last Wednesday, it was cold and nasty weather: sheeting rain, thunderstorm, whipping wind. When I stood in front of his picture and flowers and stuff from friends arranged in the funeral parlor, I was just crying and shaking my head and such. All of a sudden, I felt like I was electrified. My hair stood on end when I blinked and the monochrome picture became clear before my eyes, and... his eyes were giving me an intense electron blue glare!
Remember, you promised to take care of Marina, I heard his voice ring in my ear, with the familiar rhenish twang. We're from places only about 25 miles apart. Anyway, his wife has had a heart attack herself only half a year earlier and is a shadow of herself. After that short circuit between Jürgen and me, I straightened up and nodded firmly at him... and his eyes turned monochrome again.
Also, I often hear my dog pat through the silent house or snore at the foot of my bed where her place has been, and sometimes smell her.
I could go on, but I fear I might appear like I'm losing it as it's at the moment quite crowded in my house again, the literal house and my attic (I'm bipolar). But it kinda helps coping with so much loss in less than five years.
Dekland Freeny : My childhood home was constructed in 1910, and when I was around 8, my parents bought a bunk bed for my room. I naturally assumed control of the bottom bunk intending to have friends over, leaving the top bunk for future guests.
I took some time getting used to laying in shadow, head pressed against my pillow while staring at the bottom of what was above. Much closer than expected, the experience was a bit like being in a cave. I liked my new bed very much. I turned my head to relay to my brother how the fresh, new experience made me feel.
And a blonde, little girl was laying on her back in the bed next to me. Her head was against the pillow close enough to mine her appearance made my breath catch in my throat, and I shot up upon an elbow before realizing her eyes had no pupils. They were little pools of lightning dancing around the sockets.
Panicked, I shot out of the bed and stifled a scream. My brother, who was sitting at my desk flipping through a comic book, asked, "Are you ok? What happened?"
My eyes were shut tight. I forced them open. My whole body was tense and tingling. But when I looked, she was gone.
We were in that house for 22 years. Nothing like that ever happened again. To this day I can't see her there, staring at the ceiling with eyes full of sparks and stars.
S.Reeves : As an adult time blurs my memories however I do hold onto one memory so vivid it is unsettling even now. I was 5 when we moved to Arkansas. My grandparents remodeled for a living so we lived in various old homes built during the industrial revolution. We moved into a home where our rooms were located in separate parts of the house and mine was located just below the narrow stairs descending to the basement. Some times late at night I would hear music out side my bedroom door and when I would look I could see smiling faces of men and women dancing as if I had stepped into an old Victorian ballroom. The women were wearing beautiful full flowing gowns and the men blue and gray silky jackets with silver embellishments. One night I was heading to bed and I remember standing at the top of the stairs and I felt pressure on my shoulder, my feet went flying out from under me and I rolled down the stairs. I couldn't breath I panicked but I remember someone/something pushing past me down the stairs. I saw a young girl with a long dress, a pony tail and something in her hand. She had disappeared by the time I made it to the lower level. From that night on I was to scared to ever sleep in or go near the basement again.
Yes, quite often. It usually starts with something electrical blitzing. A certain phone making clicking sounds like Morse code, shadows of someone walking by, reflections of someone in a picture, the space bar on my keyboard putting the cursers across my screen and I'm not touching it. Generally the spirit of the person who is around will come to me in my dream. Most times it's a visit from a deceased family member who visits just before I get news of another family member who is sick or about to die.
I've had a couple of occasions, when I was very young, when someone whispered in my ear, "run, hide". Both times I was being followed and didn't realize it. I ran ahead, hid and saw a man searching to see where I had gone.
So yes, spirits, ghosts or whatever you'd like to call them, exist.
elephantsealer : I wish I get an opportunity to speak or see a ghost. However, since there is no such things as ghosts, then perhaps it would be an experience to encounter one! Wouldn't it be such an experience to see/converse with a ghost? Would someone who has seen a ghost let me know how to meet/speak to one? How in heaven's name can a dead talk and roam the universe?
JCosmos : When I visited Vietnam in 2019 prior to COVID lockdowns I had two weird experiences. One night in old Saigon in the backpackers district I saw an old American dressed in battle fatigues drinking beer in a bar. I looked at him he stared at me. I turned around and when I looked back he was gone. I felt that I had seen a ghost.
Later when I toured the Chi Chu tunnels I felt the ghosts of both the Viet Kong and US GI's all around me.
Vietnamese people believe in ghosts and I guessed I do now.
I also had a spooky experience back in 1990 when I attended my Korean uncle-in-law's funeral. They did a shaman ceremony and the female shaman started talking with the voice and personality of my dead Uncle-in-law who was quite a character. We had to leave - it was just too vivid and freaked my wife and I out.
Joy : No, not really, I can't recall ever seeing a ghost. Except I was an only child and my mother used to say I freaked her out by talking to imaginary people. I do get dreams that come true, though, once in a blue moon.
Dead people in fiction, ghosts you might say, add an interesting twist. Most of the time, they make stories more fun to read.
Elfin Dragon - contest hunting : I know some people will disagree but, I don't believe ghosts exist. What we think of as ghosts can often be explained by some scientific occurrence.
W.D.Wilcox : I had a ghostly experience back in my youth. I woke up and this very tall, dark figure was standing next to my bed. I watched it for awhile and it finally disappeared. Of course, in those days I was taking a lot of LDS.
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