The Progression of a Scene

Since my original post of this excerpt was a true rough draft – which for me means basically dialogue, void of physical grounding, blocking, and character thoughts – I thought it would be fun or at least informative to show what I do in editing* to make it an actual narrative scene and also how I tweak it to make it that 3% better. (*I say editing…in reality it’s what I do when writing. I have mentioned before that I have two modes of writing, compositional and inspirational. This scene was written in the inspirational mode, so primarily what the changes will be are what I add when I integrate it into the narrative in compositional mode. I also tend to tweak wording as I go along, rather than only in a formal editing pass, so most of these word swaps would naturally occur in the drafting phase rather than the editing phase.)

I will copy this post and publish a new version as the scene changes, so that each layer of tinkering can be viewed discreetly.

LEGEND:

[bracketed comments] = editorial aside explaining what I did if it’s not a textual change that can be noted by changing the color of the words involved

black = original words

blue = compositional mode additions

red = editorial change

To recap the scenario: a masquerade. Their Lord and Lady Winter costumes match; hers, intentionally, because she wanted to match a man from her past and thinks the hero is he. He’s not. He takes her for a courtesan he’s supposed to meet there. She’s not.

“Blow, blow, thou winter wind,” he said, reaching for the one bit of poetry he knew that might suit her attire. “Thou art not so unkind as man’s ingratitude.”

“Do you not think yourself unkind [line break – trying out a means to emphasize the poetry. Not sure I will keep it]
to speak to me of your ingratitude?”

Her question took him aback. Had she been inconvenienced to come tonight? Had he been hard to find? While he parsed the meaning of her words, their cadence struck him. She’d replied in the same meter his verse  quotation employed, with a slight pause to emphasize her phrasing – she meant to speak in verse. It was a parlor game he knew well from his sister. She always won. He wondered how he’d fare against a lady of the night. Dismally, most like, if she were an actress.

“Then should I simply note that you’re well met,
my lady fair?”

“Well met, indeed, my lord.” [increased indent, again to emphasize verse…all or none will be kept in the end]

Am I your lord?”

“Tonight it doth appear you are.”

“Then how shall I best please my love?”

“A kiss to shame all lovers here; but first a dance
to cast all dancers in despair at their incompetence.”

“A feather to your cap, my dear, for I
cannot compete with prose so fine.”

“A sorry piece of prose, good sir,
for by my count we doth converse in verse.”

“My lady has a clever mind, to match her dex’trous tongue.”

“And know you this because you dream about my tongue?”

“For cert, my love: the fairest of its kind I have I encounteréd.”

“A pretty piece of flattery, if true.”

“Can you doubt me?”

“I have done nothing else since took you leave to speak.”

“But why? I’ faith, my lady, I have only ever spoke spake my heart’s confession – pax! I concede.  oh, damn all! Pax; I concede. You have mastered me.”

“’Twas ever thus, if I recall.”

“No one likes a braggart.”

“In a woman, you mean. Men may talk all night of their exploits without receiving censure.”

“Mayhap. But I prefer to spend tonight in exploits, not in talk.”

Ever a Always the man of action.”

“Better a man mere master of action than a king of unmet dreams….”

2 Comments

Filed under Excerpts, Writing

2 responses to “The Progression of a Scene

  1. This looks like the poetry layer.

    • In a literal sense (bc this text is poetry, in the main) yes. In a figurative sense, these are just the words poking out as wrong on a quick read-through before picking up the thread of the conversation to go forward…

      >

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