Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Writing Exercises 2

What follows the beginning of a scene? Middles. But in case you haven't read the beginnings you can hopefully just follow along. There are different ways of handling the middle of a scene. This is the next part of Jordan E. Rosenfeld's Make a Scene that my writers group is going through. We wanted to continue the scenes we began to see how the different elements would work. However, since we started with three possible beginnings, we could pick whichever beginning we thought would work best. So I will also include the beginning scene that these middles are building upon.

There are various aspect within each type of middle and so the name of the middle might not always match what those words mean. There are so many more details and examples in Make a Scene that if these exercises interest you then check the book out!

The Withhold-following Setting
Vince could see a light through the door and he pushed the chainsaw harder. A small chunk of wood fell to the floor revealing the fallen bookshelf and the crown of Cara's brown hair.

"I can see you," he shouted. The chainsaw sputtered as it hit a thicker block of wood and then the engine rolled to a stop. Vince pulled up on the handle but the bar wedged itself between the sides of the groove and wouldn't budge. He jerked it harder, but only succeeded in pinching off the chain.

"Do you have it?" Cara asked.

"It's stuck."

"Can you reach the chain?"

Vince grabbed the chainsaw chain and then realized she meant the chain on the door. There was a round three inch hole in the door and he squeezed his hand through. He bent his wrist and his fingertips grazed the chain. Pushing his arm in deeper he could flip the chain with his middle finer, but when he tried to pull his hand out he realized it was stuck.

The Element Danger- following Action
The chainsaw sputtered to a halt and Cara heard Vince lean against the door with a thud.

"I have something to ask you," he said.

"Now?" Cara asked. She let her breath rush out of her and the bookshelf crushed down on her ribs.

"I asked Rachel out to the Red Wings game. I gave her your ticket. Is that all right?"

Cara froze. The bookshelf sank another inch, but she didn't feel it. This was the hockey game where she planned to tell Vince he was more than just a friend to her. The billboard message was ready.

"I mentioned the game and Rachel got so excited."

Sure she did. Rachel hated hockey. Cara couldn't breath.

"Is that okay?" Vince asked.

"I--Can we talk about this later?"

"Sure. We'll get a drink tonight."

But Cara knew Vince's friends. They always had something planned in the evenings.

The Unexpected Revelation-following Narrative and Setting but from Cara's POV

"I got it," Vince cried and moments later the door cracked open.

Cara shut her eyes against the swirling cloud of sawdust expanding toward her and when she opened her eyes Vince was kneeling by her side. He heaved against the bookshelf and for the first time that hour Cara could breath normally again. She rolled under Vince's arms and away from the book shelf. Her fingers still tightly clenched the key she'd found.

"You free?" Vince asked, his voice a bit strained.

"Yes." Cara nodded. "You won't believe what I found!"

"What?" Vince let the shelf down and faced her.

"You know the secret closet in the apartment? Well, I found the key." Cara held it out.

"Really?" Vince's eyes matched the excitement Cara felt, but when he picked up the key he frowned. "This isn't going to fit," he said. He held the key to the light and then tossed it back. Cara snatched it out of the air.

"Of course it will fit. It's a secret key behind an old bookcase in the same apartment as the secret closet."

"No it won't."

"I'll show you!" Cara stomped down the hall and jammed the key at the lock, but it wouldn't go in.

"Told you," Vince said with a shake of his head.

Cara gazed in disappointment at the key in her hand.

"But--how did you know?"

"Because it matched this." Vince pulled out the silver chain Cara had noticed before and on is was an exact replica of the key in her hand.

Those are the middles. The endings of the scenes, although not of the completed stories are coming soon. In the mean time, write out some middles of a scene and let me know how they turned out!

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