When I was around nine years old, my sister and I “went exploring” near our home. In the middle of a forest, we came upon a pond of stagnant water covered in green slime. It was so thick, it looked solid. Being the daredevil that I am, I decided it would be fun to walk across a tree that had fallen across the expanse of the water. Like walking a tight rope, I put one foot in front of the other. Donna warned me to be careful. However, the tree bark was slick from a recent storm, and I fell right into the pond. I got slimed!
I thought about that when I was writing a new scene for my current project. I didn’t want it to be stale or stagnant. It had to be intriguing, electrifying, and of course, full of tension. My solution was to have my point-of-view character tell what was happening in a first-person narrative. Because she is an adventurous, larger-than-life person, she embellished details in her telling. Good for her! (Don’t worry about my psyche. I know she’s not real.)
I took the rough draft and then wrote it in a third-person narrative. Originally, I planned a scene where the character’s ex-lover/cop comes to her home so she can tell him about a threat from a creepy stranger. Boring and dull. Right? In the revision, thanks to the re-telling by my POV character, the creep is following her in traffic. She speed-dials the cop who is nearby in an unmarked police vehicle. When the bad guy turns off a side-street and is no longer a threat, she tells her cop-friend, she’s okay. But when he wants to discuss it further and she doesn’t, he forces her to the side of the road with his blue lights flashing. Their discussion gets interesting when she tells him a secret that stops him cold. His reaction catches her off-guard, and the hits keep coming. The scene comes alive like a swift current, not a stagnant pond. No slime at all!
“Open Book” photo courtesy of digitalart