Does anyone have any suggestions for me to read to see how to get through this next part?

Bramandin

Science fiction fantasy
Joined
May 5, 2022
Messages
576
MC is between wants. He just got hired as an apprentice and I didn't really get any satisfying details after fighting with it for a few days. I decided what type of loom they have but didn't describe it, named a bunch of the people that he's going to be living/working with, botched giving the information that they sleep in cabinets and the one MC gets was being used for storage... I'm not sure how to get to an opportunity for them to learn that he can't read. I'm planning for him to lie about a goddess bringing him there and use that as an opportunity to tell him a bit about how religion is disallowed. It seems like the wrong place to put a time-skip until the religious bit.

My story is very loosely portal-fantasy. It's a bit like how Oz is a part of our world, but since the only way to get there is by flying, it's barely more accessible than Narnia. MC can simply ask to go home, but he doesn't want to. This is the part where he starts to adjust to his new surroundings and begins to settle into his new life.
 

tinkerdan

∞<Q-Satis
Joined
Dec 10, 2012
Messages
5,345
Location
x² + y² = r²:when x~∞
Use your character and the character experience to help contextualize the scene to do what you want it to do.
Use what is happening in some comparison to what ever world building you need to do so that you make the info-dumps sound like they organically belong while the scene itself moves forward..

As an example in my work if the ebook is available in your location you can read the first chapter of my books in samples[I think].

There is a character introduction, some of the conflict or situation with the character and some bit of info to bring the reader up to date with the character as of the time in the scene.

It might not be exactly what you are concerned with, but I think that there is the basic essence to an answer that you are searching for.
I could be wrong.
I do the same in
Nacre Oxide
and
Axis Mundi
 
Last edited:

sknox

Member and remember
Joined
Mar 25, 2013
Messages
1,766
Location
Idaho
I don't have any specific recommendations, but I think you're focusing on the wrong area, or at least one unlikely to bear fruit. Pardon me in advance if I have read your post completely wrong!

What I see there is a bunch of static information. There's no motion. I don't know what the character wants and I don't know what opposes him or gets in his way from getting that. Keep in mind that a "want" here can be something very short term, like getting fed or finding a place to sleep.

Until we have that, there's no filter, no way to decide what goes into this particular scene, what absolutely doesn't belong there, and what might get included now or maybe later. Everything stands over on the "maybe" side, and so there's no way to move forward with the scene.

Let's say he comes into this scene wanting to be accepted by his new host family, but it's hard because they have different customs. So he goes looking for a bed cabinet only to find they've given him a pallet on the floor. Does he accept this gratefully? Is he embarrassed by making a mistake and trying to sleep in a storage room? Is he angry, feeling he's been made a fool of? Which leads to the question of how he's treated more generally. Is his new master kind? Indifferent? Cruel? Goofy? Merely different?

Let's say further that he wants to say his evening prayers. Does he ask about this? Or contrariwise, he's fled a religious persecution and wants nothing to do with religion, and there he is at evening table and they're about to start a prayer of thanks. What does he do?

As you can see, constructing a scene is about both large and small matters. The smaller matters usually take center stage. They're the immediate problems and concerns, the ones he walked in with. But, like stage dressing, there's still the larger story, themes, sub-plots running, that provide context and help you choose among the many options for decision and response as you move through the scene.

The only way I know how to navigate this admittedly fuzzy world is to put myself beside the character. Not quite in the character, at least not for me, because I still have to act as author. But I'm at his shoulder. I'm a close friend. I know how he thinks and feels, and I think and even feel along with him. When I look around the room, I'm looking with his eyes. Only by being right there inside the scene do I get the immediacy I need to choose in which room of the house he's standing, what he sees and hears, what he thinks about that, the decisions he makes, how he reacts. And only by doing that can I construct a scene that moves from one point to another. And only by doing that am I able to choose what, out of the hundreds of individual data points that make up the world, I need to include in just precisely this particular paragraph.
 

Bramandin

Science fiction fantasy
Joined
May 5, 2022
Messages
576
Use your character and the character experience to help contextualize the scene to do what you want it to do.
Use what is happening in some comparison to what ever world building you need to do so that you make the info-dumps sound like they organically belong while the scene itself moves forward..

I wasn't quite in the mood to watch a character be tortured, but I think I can use the pacing from chapter 3 as a framework, so thank you.

There's no motion. I don't know what the character wants and I don't know what opposes him or gets in his way from getting that. Keep in mind that a "want" here can be something very short term, like getting fed or finding a place to sleep.

I might have set up a challenge for myself, but is there a rule that there has to be a want and an opposition to it at every moment?

He's not particularly hungry at the moment and there is an implicit promise of more food coming. He doesn't know that he needs a place to sleep and while he's not getting a mattress right away, he's used to sleeping on bare stone and doesn't know what a mattress is. Pretty much it's like that part in Disney's Aladdin except that he has a wish that the genie can grant directly; a deus ex machina pretty much handed him the key to happiness and the only want he has right now is not screwing up so he can hold onto it. That the master he's apprenticed to might have limited patience might be an opposition, but is a sword of damocles really something that's in the way or just something that keeps it from being perfect? Once he gets used to his life not sucking cheeseballs, he'll realize that it could be better and start wanting things again.

Hmm, in Star Wars, Luke wants to leave the farm and he gets it when the dark lord burns it down, but he's given the want of saving the princess before his old want is fulfilled. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, the Gene Wilder version: he spends most of the movie with his wants fulfilled and getting something that it didn't occur to him to want was a surprise twist. I think I have a copy of The Princess Bride around here; seems like he gets the princess and I have no idea how he manages to not hold onto her. It's been forever since I read To Ride Pegasus, but a girl that didn't have an identity because of a two-child policy was then given an identity and developed a shopping problem. I think the plot happened to her because she was picked up by human traffickers.

There's also a challenge because both I and the character have CPTSD. I have better emotional intelligence now, but I'm pretty sure that I still don't feel emotions the way other people do. MC is at a point where he doesn't have conscious awareness of how much he's suppressing his emotions.
 

sknox

Member and remember
Joined
Mar 25, 2013
Messages
1,766
Location
Idaho
There are no rules other than to engage a reader. But you said you were having trouble with the scene. My post suggests a way out of that difficulty. You certainly do not need to follow it, if you can find another that works for you.
 

Bramandin

Science fiction fantasy
Joined
May 5, 2022
Messages
576
There are no rules other than to engage a reader. But you said you were having trouble with the scene. My post suggests a way out of that difficulty. You certainly do not need to follow it, if you can find another that works for you.

It was a good suggestion, but following his desires at the moment would have meant typing out a lecture about spinning and weaving. :) What ended up happening was just shortening that bit until it was a paragraph instead of a time-skip.

I didn't get the word-count in that I wanted this week, even counting the stuff that got trimmed out, but I accidentally fell into the conversation about religion so I must be on the right track. I'll put it in critiques once I'm a bit further beyond this spot to prove that I am writing.
 

Top