Steps to a Story: Same Scene, Different Approach

As I mentioned in yesterday’s post, I finally got some inspiration for With Honor.

The scene that was tripping me up was an informational moment.  (Yes, you did read that right.  Informational.)  Up until this point in the story, Matthew and the soldiers around him were mostly clueless about the bandits they are fighting.  Now they (and the reader) need to know some key information; it’s time to reveal the antagonist in all his glory.

The problem I was having was finding a way to share this information without getting dry and boring and losing the reader (and myself).  I struggled with it a lot and finally figured it out.

Bring in a kid.

See, the bandits have befriended all the boys that watch the family livestock in the foothills.  This has always been the main source for the army to get their information.  What I didn’t think of until now was to have one of the boys actually share the information, rather than simply telling the reader that they got it from the kids.  It doesn’t even take much – all I had to do was add Thomas to the beginning and ending of the scene and voila!  The information is suddenly framed in the context of a cute kid, instead of a boring army briefing.  I don’t know why it took so long, but I’m glad I found a way.

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