Wednesday, 16 November 2011

What I've Learned from Eastenders

I've discovered another little gizmo to play with.  It's a handy application called Aeon Timeline which enables you to keep track of events and arcs over the course of your story.  At least that's what it says in the blurb.  I'm still trying to figure it out for myself.  Anyway, it's a free app in beta so there's nothing lost in giving it a try.

It occurred to me this morning as I was trudging the muddy forest floor with Theo that there are two elements in story telling; the context and the scene.  All the planning and research set up the context.  That's the donkey work that writers spend much of their time over, because without a proper context the scenes won't have any point of reference and the characters won't have the history and motivation to drive the story.  Once the context is decided the scenes should be plain sailing.  After all, that's where all the drama happens.  It's the easy part; people interacting. And people are basically the same in any time and place.

That's what I think I've lost sight of lately.  In my obsession with context I've let it overwrite the scenes, which should be simple and light and easily identifiable.  Scenes are the soap opera element, the bit that makes the reader stop flicking through channels and watch what's going on.  The context is there, like the Queen Vic in the background, but it's the emotion and drama viewers are grabbed by.

No comments: