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Wet Noodle Posse | Blog

Friday, November 27, 2009

Q&A Friday!!

Some of you may be spending Black Friday shopping, but for those writers and avid readers surfing the web, for this last Friday of November, the noodlers would like to know your thoughts about scenes that include a lot of people.

What are the challenges in writing a scene with more than a few characters, such as a scene set during a Thanksgiving Dinner? What makes a highly populated scene work?



At 11:58 AM, Blogger Margay said...

I think one of the biggest challenges of writing a well-populated scene is keeping track of everyone in the scene, especially if there's a lot of dialogue, without having to resort to so-and-so said every time a different character speaks.

At 2:13 PM, Blogger Judy said...

I've been positively terrified of doing a scene with a lot of people because they have to maintain their individual personalities.

At 2:48 PM, Blogger Gillian Layne said...

Margay and Judy both make great points. I think big scenes are easier if one or two people hold the conversational weight, and the others chime in a bit less. I love reading those scenes, btw. And reading them. The dinnertime scenes in the Stephanie Plum books come to mind.

At 11:16 AM, Blogger Terry Odell said...

Definitely the dialogue. You have to watch so carefully; you need more tags/beats, etc., but they can't be intrusive.

I tend to use more "said" tags in large groups because they identify the speaker, but are more or less invisible to the reader.

When I first started writing, I did everything possible to get extra people OUT of the scene -- sent them to fetch coffee, or off to the bathroom.

I still dread more than 3 people.

At 12:07 PM, Blogger Delle Jacobs said...

They're really hard, but usually interesting if done well. I think a focus is necessary, just as it is for the entire story. The primary characters for the scene need to stay primary, with secondary characters contributing ins a less important way. In romance, staying inside the hero's and/or heroine's heads can be a great help, and their thoughts can help concentrate the focus on them.


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