Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Power Plays and Word Padding

It isn't cheating... I promise.

So, I'm writing for this Camp NaNoWriMo event, roughly 2700 words a day if I want to reach my goal of 80,000 words in April. If you're a regular reader of this blog, then you've already seen the excerpts from my novel-in-progress "Paradise Found".

Remember that scene where the police captain and the main character, Detective Carrigan, are arguing?

Well, I found a way to include it in the novel... twice.

The first time, I'll tell the start of the scene from the point of view of another character, Deputy Chief Lyle Oberweg. The deputy is in the station for a scheduled meeting with Captain Stillwell, but the captain is using the meeting to complain about Carrigan.

When Carrigan enters the police station, I have Oberweg measure the situation in a single glance. (A) Carrigan is well-liked by his fellow officers, (B) The captain is tolerated at best, so therefore (C) The captain despises the detective.

Then, I switch points of view, and write the scene from Carrigan's viewpoint. He's just survived an attempted assassination, dealt with some moderate teasing from the officers who picked up his two prisoners, and now he comes into the police station and immediately sees both his captain and some big-time supervisor whose desk probably shares office space with the city's mayor.

The point is, if you write the same scene from different viewpoints, you can
  1. Explore every angle of the scene, including misunderstandings between the characters
  2. Plant clues to the plot that one character sees, but another misses, and 
  3. Get more words out of the scene, but in a way that entertains the reader.
For today's writing prompt, I'll provide a scene and characters. Try writing it up from as many different viewpoints as you can. Use a different style of dialogue for each character, or have three characters describe the same object or event in differing ways.

Writing Prompt: They stood around the wrecked car, glancing at each other guiltily. A student, an electrician, a street sweeper, and a lawyer... each claimed to have a perfectly valid reason for being in the area, but none wanted to claim ownership of the vehicle that had just run over a sparking power line...

Have fun, and keep writing!

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