The Jane Doe Novel Experiment

Creating Two New Novels. Writing One Chapter Weekly. Podcasting As I Go. Welcome to The Experiment.

Because I Understood the First 50 Times – I Stopped Reading Here

I will jump right into this one:

The thunderstorm was dazzling to watch outside of their bedroom window. The way the wind howled and lightning struck was very romantic.

Keith took Jen’s hand. “Don’t you love thunderstorms? The way the wind howls and lightning strikes is very romantic.”

“Yes. I always found thunderstorms romantic. I like the way the wind howls and the lightning strikes,” Jen answered wrapping her arms around his neck.

Truthfully, this is not something I’ve run into before, but I definitely do not like it. We’re getting the same information in three different ways: the narrator, character one, and character two…and all back to back. I truly understand the author’s attempt to set the scene and show that the characters are reacting to it, but the above is not the way to go about it.

Third person narratives are a great way to set a scene, but if you’re going to allow your characters to add details to the scene through conversation, you may choose to omit those from the narrative. The above can simply read:

The thunderstorm was dazzling to watch outside of their bedroom window.

Keith took Jen’s hand. “Don’t you love thunderstorms? The way the wind howls and lightning strikes is very romantic.”

“My thoughts exactly,” Jen answered wrapping her arms around his neck.

A bit better? Or, perhaps even better, from the characters’ reaction to the narrative, we know how they are feeling without the narrative being repeated in their conversation:

The thunderstorm was dazzling to watch outside of their bedroom window. The way the wind howled and lightning struck was very romantic.

Keith took Jen’s hand. “Don’t you love thunderstorms?”

“Yes,” Jen answered wrapping her arms around his neck.

Yet another way, is to let the character’s conversation and actions complete the narrative:

The thunderstorm was dazzling to watch outside of their bedroom window as the wind howled and the lightning struck.

Keith took Jen’s hand. “Don’t you love thunderstorms?”

“Yes. I always found thunderstorms romantic,” Jen answered wrapping her arms around his neck.

Any more suggestions on how to rewrite the above? Let me read them!

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This entry was posted on July 16, 2012 by in I Stopped Reading Here (ISRH) and tagged , , , , .

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