Thursday, July 11, 2019

Summertime Writing: Emphasis, Pacing, and Rythm

Exercise Sources

The book that the main objective of this exercise comes from is Keys to Great Writing (KtGW). In chapter 4, Music, the author Stephen Wilbers mentions methods to story emphasis, pacing, and rhythm. Also, I'll try to mix in some of the related exercises from Spellbinding Sentences (SS). From the last exercise from 90 Days to Your Novel (90DtYN), I will use one character and try to integrate day 5 assignment of using setting to reveal the mood of that one character—Cynthia, from my "Two Character Brainstorm" blog post exercise.

Source Material

First I'll repost her character profile from the prior posts exercise, so that I can refer to it easier as I type stuff up.
B. Art teacher that is senior and yet stylish
Character name: Cynthia
Age: 64
Occupation: Art teacher
Family members and/or significant others: Has an over controlling husband, a daughter she is proud of, and a black-sheep son.
Personality traits: Lone Wolf. Creative, stylish, and current despite her age. Sometimes her creativity is crushed by her spouse.
Character history (where is he/she from?): Born in a small middle of the country farmlands, she moved to the city to pursue art—something that brought her ridicule and teasing during her educational years. She had always spent time doing both fashion and art.
Highest level of education: Art school, art degree
Physical traits: white hair, slightly wrinkled but uses plenty of beauty products to maintain a somewhat youthful appearance. Wears expensive looking clothing.
Biggest motivator: Authentic creative instinct and expression. Breaking away from her isolated past. Being herself despite her controlling husband.
Biggest fear: Not being herself or expressing her true self. She always has to try to be creative and sometimes trendy.
Things he/she likes: She loves elegance, bright colors, spring, life, and growth. She loves to find individuality within everything.
Things he/she dislikes: She dislikes conformity, inauthenticity, and expressing things that aren't made in her own voice or style.


(90DtYN day 5) reveal character mood using setting.

(KtGW chpt 4) start with 4 monotonous sentence patterns: simple declarative sentences, paired conjunction sentences, subordinate beginning sentences, and subordinate ending sentences.

(SS chpt 10) simple declarative patterns (sentence kernels)
single noun + single finite verb
Type 1: subject+be verb+(noun, adjective, or adverb)
Type 2: subject+linking verb+(noun or adjective)
Type 3: subject+intransitive verb (+adverb)
Type 4: subject+transitive verb+direct object (noun)


Declarative sentences

Type 1
Cynthia is an art teacher
Cynthia is stylish.
Cynthia is married.
Cynthia is a mother.
Cynthia is fashionable.
Cynthia is an art school graduate.
She is creative.
She is expressive.
She is intuitive.
She is authentic.
She is independent (self-directed, eccentric, or unconventional).

Type 2
Cynthia appears trendy.
Cynthia seems eccentric.
Cynthia feels controlled.
She feels stifled.
She sounds dreamy.
She smells floral.

Type 3
Cynthia teaches.
Cynthia draws.
She paints.

Type 4
Cynthia raised two children.
Cynthia likes authentic expression of beauty.
Cynthia fears stifling conformity.

classroom, home, car
teach students basic techniques, encourage, inspire, explore, mediums

Scene with Cynthia in a setting revealing character mood

By Ken Wickham © 2019

Hurrying to paint, Cynthia finished painting a quick impressionist-style painting. She dabbed some blue into the blurred shadow of a well-dressed classy lady walking through a Paris street. Looking at the Paris image, she remembered the wonderful creative days during that one summer of art school that she spent in Paris, a center of art where spending some of her saved money helped her experience European masters. Her heart broke, however, when memories of 'him' uninvitedly appeared. Not him!

She rubbed her face briefly and decided to walk around the easel filled classroom to see how the students were doing with their own impressionist paintings.

"Try not to created hard lines for outlines," she suggested to on student who had begun to draw an outline. 

She pointed to one of the Monet replicant. "See how Monet and most of them have almost a blurred look." 

The student nodded and then began to dab. 

Each sound of the dab reminded her of arguments. Arguments that she had with her husband, whenever he wanted her to be like other mothers or wives. Her thoughts went back to one particular argument as she watched the student dab. "Why can't you be like all the other wives, and why don't you just be great just at cooking and cleaning."

"I'm not them!"she screamed. She spent a minute breathing heavy and uneven. Then she tried to compose herself. After a few seconds of calm, she said," I have to express beauty and creativity. I have to be me."

The sound of dabbing paint brought her back to the student painting. She looked at it again and asked the student, "How does your painting feel now?"

"It feels more like an impressionist painting. It feels right. Thank you," the student smiled.

She smiled back. "Good work."

Cynthia continued to the next student.

Analysis of Writing

This writing of Cynthia ended up being two background stories flashbacks mixed with the current art classroom current period. One hinted at some mysterious 'him' in Paris. The other is a right with her current husband. I think I tried to emphasis how the blurred dabbed outline of impressionist painting contrast with the conforming lines of outlines, similar to how her current husband wants to conform.

I tried to emphasize her mood and specific view of freedom and conformity within an impressionist-style painting context.

The types of declarative sentences exercise helped me to practice some fundamental sentence types. I tried to mix at least one, which I had to edit into the writing after freewriting the a quick first draft. I could have fleshed out the setting more, but in the end I felt the classroom a little more. Maybe further edits might make the classroom more vivid.

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