Whilst I was busy procrastinating instead of doing something more productive a few weeks ago, I came across an interesting article in my Facebook feed about re-writing. I follow the Kindle Direct Publishing page (which allows me to convince myself that reading Facebook is helping my writing, although in this case it actually was) and they had shared an article originally available on the Arvon website that I believe was written by Melanie McGrath. The article was about how walking around a scene and re-writing it from a different perspective can give you a deeper understanding of what is going on. I was intrigued by this idea; it wasn’t something I had tried before … but then there was this meme with an otter holding a tiny electric guitar, and well, you know how that ends!
Fast-forward a week or two and I found myself struggling with a chapter in my new novel “Lyskerrys” in which the protagonist travels into the past to a location he already is familiar with from the present. The location, as it is in the past, is very different from he first encountered it, (wait, should that be when he would encounter it? Damn you time-travel! Anyway, you get the idea.)
This scene really deserves to be described in a lot of detail to show just how different it is, but no matter how I tried to do this it always read as just a long list. The way I was struggling with this scene made me think back to the article, and I thought I would try re-writing it from another perspective. What a revelation! It was the perfect solution, just considering another viewpoint immediately made me think of the young children in the chapter who were playing in the chamber in which the scene is set. Writing from their perspective and describing the room as seen through their eyes as they chased each other through the chamber enabled me to describe each point I wanted to as they encountered it without it ever feeling like a list. The scene closes as they race out of the room past the protagonist who is just entering, which was the perfect transition to back to his viewpoint.
I’m not sure if this is exactly what the author of the article had in mind, but it certainly helped me and I would recommend that you give it a try if you are struggling with a scene.