Writer’s Craft #65 – Staging Conversation
Your host, Lynda Williams, is the author of the Okal Rel Saga (Edge Science Fiction and Fantasy Publishing) and editor of the Okal Rel Legacies series (Absolute Xpress). She also works as Learning Technology Analyst for Simon Fraser University and teaches a introductory web development course at BCIT. For a list of Okal Rel titles see: Lynda Williams on Amazon.com.
As I edit Part 9: Holy War, of the Okal Rel Saga, I am always asking myself how much business I dare to let intrude on conversations. And dread the errors that creep in when I cut down. Keep your eye on Margaret’s arms in the bit below.
He buckled over with a spasm of hilarity. He slapped his knee when he straightened, trying to get a grip on his giddiness, and sputtered out in guffaws.
“Have you lost your mind?” Margaret demanded.
“No!” Eler exclaimed, and nearly broke out in another fit. “Which is why I’m not challenging the K’isk!” he declared, and grinned at her. “For anybody!”
She dropped her arms to hold them stiffly by her side. “I thought you counted yourself a superior swordsman,” she accused in a stinging tone.
“Yeah,” he said, and rubbed his nose. “Superior. See, that’s relative.”
In the original version:
Margaret gave a start as if she’d been stung. She took a faltering step back, in the grass, blinking at him. She wrapped her arms around herself, holding her elbows inside the folds of her long white sleeves. Looking stricken.
So when she dropped her arms to her sides, it was a change of attitude to match the posture. Now I’m just not sure which version’s better. But I’m still leaning in favor of the KISS principle for movements and expressions in the midst of conversation.
Have you wrestled with keeping your conversations flowing when there’s stuff to stage at the same time?