Monday, July 29, 2013

Progress Report 4: The good kind of writer's block

Alas, I realize this report is a little belated. But I am officially 1/3 done with Project Two Moons! I wrestled with a particular issue in my last chapter, a technique I first learned about in my one and only acting class in college: "Blocking." This technique refers to how an actor is positioned in relation to the stage. I try to apply the same principle to my characters. Where exactly are they in their location? (Next to a snarled patch of raspberries that cling to their skirt's hem, standing under the shade of a dusty suit of armor, enduring the icy smack of rain drops sneaking through the hole in the roof's thatching, etc.) Secondly, what are your characters doing, especially while speaking? (Chewing a tooth pick, secretly scratching poems into the cheap underside of a particle board desk, etc.)

I'm not saying you should over-clutter your dialogue with unnecessary character movement. However, it's too easy to fill up a scene with dialogue and leave the rest of the room, or even the character, a "void." One of my favorite quotes from the Tao Te Ching also calls attention to the idea of burgeoning richness within the confines of space: "We shape clay into a pot, but it is the emptiness inside that holds whatever you want." So don't let the initial "emptiness" of portions of your draft discourage you. Block it!

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