Using the prompt provided, learn to create a character-based fictional scene, balancing narrative description, dialogue, and internalization and burying exposition so it does not intrude into story delivery. You’ll keep the plot moving with conflict and action and integrate it with character development.
How to prepare.
1. To create the scene, you may need to learn details about something you may need to know more about: flying terrorism. Some research may be needed as you work.
2. You need to determine the desires, motivations, strength and flaws of each of the characters. (Pilot, copilot, flight attendant, suspicious passenger.)
3. As in all good fiction, you’ll need to immerse conflict among characters, with the environment, internal (should I or shouldn’t I, what will happen if I do?), and in the plot. Learn to have conflict working on every level. Example. He tuned the radio to Poughkeepsie ground control. Flat. Not useful. To make it interesting (if it’s worth it for the story and story?space is available). The copilot reached up to lock the radio into 121.5 before he tried Poughkeepsie ground control. His hand shook, he twisted the knob, which broke and fell off onto the floor. They had to declare emergency, prepare ground control for the worst. He twisted the knoblesss dial but fingers slipped with nervous sweat in the thin metal projection . You’ll need to develop an always increasing sense of good judgment This seems overwritten but will give an idea of how potential for conflict lies in every situation. Look for conflict development in the tools available to a writer–dialogue, plot, characterization, narrative description, even direct exposition.
4. You’ll need to determine story purpose for this scene (as for every scene). Does it advance plot, characterization, setting, theme and meaning? A purpose will filter extraneous material not related to the story, an urge that plagues all amateur storytellers because it fills space and requires less thought. For examples of purpose: In this scene I want o advance characterization of “X” by showing how his/her failure to learn regulations will threaten survival, or I want to deliver “Y”‘s attraction to Z. [This is literary, character-based fiction, and the characters are driving the plot with their desires and motives (maybe the flight attendant’s love for the copilot interferes with the jealous pilot’s decisions for survival), not just reacting to the plot (look out for United 704, it’s coming toward us.”]
5. Finally, consider the best narration for the scene. Who is telling the story? Do you want it to be an unidentified narrator at a distance looking back, a narrator in scene, a narrator that enters single or multiple character(s) heads through specific points of view, or combinations of these. If you chose 1st person, be sure you are fully aware of the limitations and strengths of 1st person POV so you don’t work against your purpose for the scene.
Essays you may find useful
And you can search specific topics in THE FICTION WELL
What to do.
Write a scene no more than 1000 words using this scenario:
A commercial airline flight. The female flight attendant notices a swarthy passenger in 28B making excessive frequent trips to the rear rest room, always carrying a black satchel and wearing heavily tinted glasses. The terror alert is red. She is suspicious.
She calls the pilot and copilot and with her hand cupped over the microphone, raises the alarm.
The pilot and the copilot begin to plan behind the locked door, keeping in touch with updates with the flight attendant. But they do not get along well together, and under the threat emotions flare.
Rewrite and take it from there. Confrontation. Examine passenger and bathroom. Alert passengers or not. Prepare for early landing. And so forth. All the time revealing character and keeping the plot moving (this should be easy because the plot is already in motion). Set the scene but use no undisguised exposition. [And write through your narrator. Don’t become the narrator. Authorial intrusion diminishes the potential of a well-imagined narrator and character(s), even in first person.)
Thanks for participating.
Submit your work below if you would like William H. Coles to provide free online comment.
2 thoughts on “Work from Ophelia InFimbria”
Thank you for the critique. You are certainly right about the flow of the writing as well as the disconnect from narrative to the pow wow of my take on the protagonist, 20th century American Literature.
I sent the sample to you because I am blocked and cannot think of a way for a smooth transition to pull the sample/piece to my liking as asked by the writing prompt.
I am applying for my MA and or MFA, and I a received 100% from whom ever in the English department. I should be happy but I can do better.
Fiction is make-believe, invented stories. They may be short stories, fables, vignettes, plays, novellas, or novels. Although writers may base a character on people they have met in real life, the characters and the experiences that the character faces in the story are not real.