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Fantasy Writers

Making slow scenes interesting

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  • #133877
    Rose
    @rose-colored-fancy

    Hey everyone!

    I’ve always had an issue that I tend to get stuck on slow scenes and that I end up rambling on and on about pointless things for 2000 words.

    This is usually because the plot/characters require some less spectacular things to happen. This covers anything from having a backstory-revealing conversation, talking to someone that gives them information they need to complete a task or get an item they need later.

    The problem isn’t that the scenes don’t have a goal, but that the way to the goal isn’t particularly interesting. The scenes do have stakes and goals, but they still feel boring.

    It may also be that it’s only predictable and boring for me because I already know what will happen, but slow and boring scenes are something I write consistently.

    I was wondering if anyone knows a possible solution or any tips on how to fix this.

    I’d love to hear what y’all think!

    "Stories are light. Light is precious in a world so dark." The Tale of Despereaux

    #133881
    Skylarynn
    @skylarynn

    Hi @rose-colored-fancy !

    I understand what you’re talking about!  Usually when I get to a portion of writing lower on the action scale, I have a couple of techniques for keeping the pace up.
    First and foremost is body language and character quirks.  If there is some lore-heavy discussions going on, give some hints about what your characters think of it.  Use descriptions of body language or small tics to break up large chunks of dialogue.
    Secondly, if it is a long discussion or lecture, try to sprinkle in some interjections to help break it up as well.  I believe this is something Tolkien does in LotR (I haven’t read it in a few years so I may be wrong) when Gandalf or Elrond start to slip into a monologue; he has the curious little hobbitses pipe up with questions.
    Third of my tricks is something you can do, but it depends on your genre, POV, and the tone of your story.  And that is to put in hints about the conversation in the narration.  This can work as foreshadowing and raise suspense in your story, but you have to be careful not to overdo it or never give it a payoff.  Here’s an example from a scene I wrote previously (I need to rewrite it to better fit the current plot, but it does a good job of hinting at plot threads):

    The Duke nodded again and gently stroked his short, bushy blonde beard thoughtfully.  His dark brown eyes had gained a spark the Lady Warin was not overly fond of.  “Do you intend to send Ada to the University once she comes of age?  I would understand if you didn’t, knowing what happened the last time-”

    His sister quickly turned back to him as he spoke, her jagged eyes showing a rare emotion; fear.  “I do,” the Lady Warin answered quickly, swallowing the dark memories that resurfaced at those words.  “She needs a proper education if she is to learn how to use her Syne.”

    Lord Northiron’s hand dropped from his beard in mild surprise.  “You’ve given her your Syne already?  Surely you’d want to wait until she came of age to even consider-”

    “I did not give her the Syne she bears,” his sister interrupted, her voice tight.  “And yes, I would have waited.  The Syne she carries is neither mine nor…his.”  She swallowed.  “As far as I know she has had it her whole life.”

    Lord Northiron regarded her thoughtfully, stroking his beard once more.  His face, far more tanned and weathered than hers despite the relatively small distance in their ages, bore an expression of deep reflection.  “It is not a fire Syne, then, I presume?” he asked finally.

    The Lady Warin shook her head.  “Nor is it ice, as I may have expected from your kin.  No, Ada bears a Syne of storms.”

    He froze, staring.  “Storms?  You’re certain?”

    She nodded and turned back to the door.  Silently the Lady wished it was just a coincidence, that Ada’s Syne had nothing at all to do with the mysterious arrival of that man fourteen years ago…but she knew better than that.  It was undoubtedly not a coincidence.  Ada bore a Syne of storms.  Possibly the Syne of storms.  The implications were dark, and she did not wish to think on them.

    "Remember, you go nowhere by accident. Wherever you go, God is sending you." - Rev. Peter R. Hale

    #133925
    Rose
    @rose-colored-fancy

    @skylarynn

    Thank you so much Skylarynn! I’ll definitely keep those in mind! that piece of writing is fascinating, btw! It raises a lot of cool questions!

    "Stories are light. Light is precious in a world so dark." The Tale of Despereaux

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