richard harland's writing tips

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The Elements

(Action, Setting, Dialogue, Thinking Inside)

 

 

Other Elements Topics

 

1.Action

3.Dialogue

4.Thinking Inside

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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2. Setting

 

ii) MISE-EN-SCENE

 

ferren and the white doctorFor me, a scene is ready to write when I’ve got the right feel for the setting. I think it’s what people who talk about movies call mise-en-scene. The way I understand it (I could be wrong), mise-en-scene is when a director goes from the bare bones of script/screenplay to a vision of how scenes will actually look. So, for a writer, when an idea of what needs to happen fleshes out into a full picture.

Maybe I’m conscious of this process because of my personal method of ‘pre-filming’. But, however you work, the right setting enhances the action. Or if it doesn’t enhance the action, I’d say don’t bother with it. Description for description’s sake is a waste of space.

There are probably no general rules for what setting will enhance what action. Sure, violent action matches violent, stormy weather—and I’ve done that at the end of Worldshaker. But opposites can work well too, violent action set against a genteel setting. My only rule is, if it feels right, it is right.

In Ferren and the White Doctor, there’s a scene of terrible betrayal, set among green rolling hills in the morning sunshine, green grass dotted with bright scarlet flowers. Maybe I could analyse why green-with-splashes-of-red belongs with that scene, but at the time, it was just a ‘click’. Since it’s the scene that everyone remembers from the book, I reckon it must click for other people too.

 

OTHER SETTING TOPICS

 

(i) FACTS VERSUS IMPRESSION      

(iii) WHAT WOULD YOU PERCEIVE?          

(iv) DESCRIPTION INTERLEAVED

(v) WEATHERS & TIMES OF DAY

(vi) ADJECTIVES

(vii) THINKING THROUGH CONSEQUENCES IN FANTASY

(viii) MAKING IT FRESH IN FANTASY

(ix) PERMANENT CONDITIONS IN FANTASY

 

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Copyright note: all material on this website is (c) Richard Harland, 2009-10
 
 
Copyright note: all written material on this website is copyright
1997 - 2010 Richard Harland.