Staging the Scene

Bethany Bouchard
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So, I haven't posted a non-creative piece entry on here in a while, so I thought here I would talk about how I my idea for my short story," Sunday in the Park." It's one of my favorite things that I've written, and it was inspired by a prompt in Writing of Fiction for a journal entry.

Dr. Arnzen provided us with a bit of dialogue and told us to "stage the scene" by writing out a short piece, filling in the action around the dialogue, and using only that dialogue. It was really fun to see how different everyone's turned out. You couldn't even notice they all had the same dialogue.

This technique is something I still use in my writing today. Whenever I'm stuck, it usually helps me to start off with some dialogue first, and then to write around it, to stage the scene. Of course, it depends on what you're working on, so it might not always work. I find it usually works best when you're starting fresh on something, but don't really know where you want to go with it just yet.

You could also combine this trick with the overheard conversation exercise, I discussed in a previous entry. Use someone else's conversation, but write your own scene to it.


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Thanks for this suggestion. I have Writing of Fiction now; this might be fun to try for one of the journal entries. It makes sense putting the dialogue in the center and building the world around it. Dialogue invites context. I had dinner at the Beanery earlier tonight, and couldn't help picking up bits and pieces of fellow diners conversations. One couple, for instance, were very animated talkers. I could almost visualize their jobs and habits just from overhearing their dialogue.

Exactly! It's like inspiration can come from the most mediocre things.

This is a great suggestion! I have also used the exercise about overheard conversations. It was a really good poem starter for our poetry class last semester when I was stuck!

Oooh, that sounds fun! I've never tried it with poetry before. Might have to do that. :)

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This page contains a single entry by Bethany Bouchard published on November 10, 2010 12:00 PM.

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