When practicing anything to try to get better, it’s inevitable that some sessions, some output, some exercises, won’t go so well.
Sometimes you’ll know it immediately. Sometimes it may take a while. But either way, you’re faced with the question of what to do about it.
That’s what happened in yesterday’s session. I used the first half of my lunch break to write, before I even ate. It was good to put first things first, so to speak. But the output wasn’t so great, and it wasn’t because I was hungry.
The initial writing came to 500 words, which was longer than some of the other exercises. I did it in under 15 minutes. But it was far and away the worst so far. Why?
Well, that’s what I spent the next 15-20 minutes figuring out. I analyzed what went wrong, and what I might do differently in the future, and it came to almost 600 words. Yep, it was longer than the passage.
Without intending to, I’d written a dialogue exposition info-dump. The dialogue had no internal conflict, and there was no reason to give that much setting information in one scene.
There wasn’t any conflict in the scene, and that meant it was almost destined to be boring.
There was no setting information given, nothing for the senses. It could have taken place in a white room or on a rocky beach for all the information I gave.
The characters didn’t even react strongly or do much. Dialogue, I think, should take place during other actions. Yes, in the real world, a lot of times we stand around or sit around just talking. And those conversations can be very interesting to be a part of. But unless they are really earth-shaking conversations, they’re not that interesting to read.
But hey, I call the exercise a success, because I thoroughly deconstructed a failed effort and came up with solid steps to do better next time.