I am having a scene block. Help

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I am having a scene block. Help

Post by marccolbourne » July 14th, 2010, 10:58 am

Hello folks,

I am currently three quarters of the way through the first draft of a nonfiction/memoir. It is the story of an Iranian refugee who was forced to flee his country after starting the country's first underground gay and lesbian organization. I started the book with a catching (I believe) scene that chronologically occurs at about 3/4 of the way through. I then went back to begin the story. I am now at the point where this scene takes place. My question is: How do I write this? Obviously I don't want to just repeat the scene. Do I retell it in a different way? Just skip over it and highlight other aspects of this interaction? Ideas?


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Re: I am having a scene block. Help

Post by polymath » July 14th, 2010, 11:20 am

Donna Tart's The Secret History, 1992, depicts the novel's pivotal dilemma event in an opening prelude, just the event in a vacuum of background context as it unfolds in the immediate moment. Once the storyline wraps back around from lead up events that carry Papen and his cohort to the event, it's then explored in all its contributing details. The chronologically situated version expands upon the prelude version. As an identical nonlinear storyline example for investigation, I think the novel would provide answers for how to procede.
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Re: I am having a scene block. Help

Post by cheekychook » July 14th, 2010, 11:31 am

It depends how much detail you gave about that scene in the opening. I would remind the reader of what happened in your opening scene with as little repetition as possible, then either give lots more detail (if the opening wasn't that detailed) or skip on to the next scene (once you're sure the reader has been given a significant enough reminder of the beginning to know everything they need to know about that time). Wow, could I have crammed more into one sentence? Unfortunately, yes, I probably could have.... Hope that helps.

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Re: I am having a scene block. Help

Post by dios4vida » July 14th, 2010, 11:43 am

I've read where the author revisits the scene, but this time with new insight. The opening was full of mystery and intrigue (for the reader, at least) and when it comes back around the narrator fills in the details that didn't make sense before.

Say in the beginning Mary looks at the field before her with longing in her heart. Tears fill her eyes. She turns away sadly, and with heavy steps leaves the field behind.

When you first read this, you have no idea what's going on. What's the significance of the field? Why is Mary sad, and why does she have to leave? When you revisit this scene, the reader knows the whole story up to this point, so they understand that she has to leave to escape the pain of a lost child. She grew up in this place, and now she's leaving everything behind hoping for a new beginning. Giving more details about her emotions, thought process, etc. will reiterate the importance of the scene while still giving it new impact. The reader will understand and sympathize and the scene won't feel rehashed or boring.

At least, that's my opinion.
Brenda :)

Inspiration isn't about the muse. Inspiration is working until something clicks. ~Brandon Sanderson

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