I’ve got an idea and I’m going to try a little experiment.
I posted the opening scene of Emma’s Story on the showcase forum on Mythic Scribes and got some feedback from people who hadn’t yet read it. One commenter mentioned how Emma’s parents come across as really unsympathetic and another mentioned how there was no sense of location in the scene.
This is for the second draft of the story by the way, not the same as is available here on the blog (though it’s still pretty similar).
The first issue is one I can fix quite easily by just making a few changes to minor details, but the second one is more problematic. I want to get to the point of the story, without dwindling too much on things that aren’t important. It doesn’t matter to the story as a whole how the room looks, or how Emma’s parents look.
On the other hand – it matters that the reader feels welcome to the story.
I don’t want them to feel that things are happening and they don’t get a grasp of it, so a little bit of description may still be in order. The way I’m thinking about doing this is by adding some motion to the scene.
In the current version Emma stops just inside the door, and then she stands still and talks to her parents who sit at each end of the table. She does not move from that spot for the entire scene and neither does her parents. It’s not particularly exciting apart from the actual conversation which gets a bit strained towards the end.
The new plan is to add a fireplace and some armchairs in a corner to the scene. The parents have moved over to the armchairs to relax after the meal, and the fire in the fireplace is about to go out. This is when Emma enters the room. She sees her parents have moved and she sees the fire dying. Instead of just standing there and telling them what’s happened she goes and puts a log on the fire, pokes at it for a bit and brings it back to life. While she does this, she talks to her parents and they discuss the current situation.
The experiment I mentioned earlier is that I’m going to try to use the exact same conversation lines as I did in the current version of the scene. I’m fully aware that it may not work out at all, but I want to try it and see how it ends up. If nothing else it’ll be fun to compare the two version and see the differences.