Improving Blocking


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Thread: Improving Blocking

  1. #1

    Improving Blocking

    My blocking is rudimentary. Blocking is like a game of blindfold chess.

    That being said, I have been pleasantly surprised that people don't seem to care when you take entire sentences just to describe the physical starting and dynamic configuration of the environment and characters.

    Sometimes you see people write fight scenes with accidentally good blocking (not that kind) just because they focus on all the movements and configurations. But then they go back to talking heads, etc.

    If you can recommend any books, short stories, etc. with good blocking I can study, that would be nice, too.

  2. #2
    Quote Originally Posted by EternalGreen View Post
    My blocking is rudimentary. Blocking is like a game of blindfold chess.

    That being said, I have been pleasantly surprised that people don't seem to care when you take entire sentences just to describe the physical starting and dynamic configuration of the environment and characters.

    Sometimes you see people write fight scenes with accidentally good blocking (not that kind) just because they focus on all the movements and configurations. But then they go back to talking heads, etc.

    If you can recommend any books, short stories, etc. with good blocking I can study, that would be nice, too.
    I'm not really familiar with this term. Do you mean blocking in the sense of 'setting the scene'?

  3. #3
    Setting the scene. Walking around. Taking actions. "Blocking" is a stage term, adapted to prose.

  4. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by EternalGreen View Post
    That being said, I have been pleasantly surprised that people don't seem to care when you take entire sentences just to describe the physical starting and dynamic configuration of the environment and characters.
    It's interesting that you would bring this up. It's one of the things I notice when beta reading. People seem to float through the air, and move to another place or room and the reader has to make the asumption, because it's not spelled out. I also think that how the room looks and where the characters stand makes the story more interesting. You can also use the environment to add actions:

    The pier started to rock with the wake of a passing speed boat. She stepped forward to avoid falling while she caught her balance. As she placed her foot quickly without looking down, her heal got caught in the slats. "****", she shrieked. And then regretting her outburst, she muttered quietly, "I hate that!"

    He looked a bit shocked, but smiled. "I know, I hate that too!"

    "What, getting your stilletto stuck or yelling ****?"

    "Definitely getting my stilleto stuck, I have no problem yelling ****."


    Is that what you mean by blocking? Or something else?
    Sometimes in the waves of change we find our new direction...
    - unknown

  5. #5
    Yes, that's exactly what I mean. (Even if you didn't set the scene.)

    Although, I'd like to know where "he" is standing and if he remains or moves during the incident and I would be willing to read another sentence to know.

    Does he stand, unamused?

    Does he motion forward to catch her?

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by EternalGreen View Post
    Yes, that's exactly what I mean. (Even if you didn't set the scene.)

    Although, I'd like to know where "he" is standing and if he remains or moves during the incident and I would be willing to read another sentence to know.

    Does he stand, unamused?

    Does he motion forward to catch her?

    She saw him at the end of the pier as he jumped from a large Sailboat. His windswept hair looked different, better, than the slick hair he usually wore in the office. The dock started to rock with the wake of a passing speed boat. She stepped forward to avoid falling while she caught her balance. As she placed her foot quickly without looking down, her heal got caught in the slats. "****", she shrieked. And then regretting her outburst, she muttered quietly, "I hate that!"

    He looked a bit shocked, but smiled. "I know, I hate that too!" He moved towards her, as if to help.

    "What, getting your stilletto stuck or yelling ****?"

    "Definitely getting my stilleto stuck, I have no problem yelling ****."


    It's actually my favourite part of writing!
    Sometimes in the waves of change we find our new direction...
    - unknown

  7. #7
    I mean, like everything in writing, it's all inherently mythological, right? You don't put it down unless it matters. If Bill sits to the right of Nancy at a board meeting, probably not worth mentioning. If Bill glowers down at Nancy with his hungry green eyes, clutching the sides of his chair while she kneels, quivering like jelly--yeah, that's a piece of 'blocking' that probably needs to be there. The innocuous, incidental details of reality--those we intentionally avoid mentioning, because it muddies the scene. If an author mentions that the carpet is green, it better be important that the carpet is green.

    Wow. I wanna write a story about Nancy and Bill now, lol.
    Stranded in Babylon

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by BornForBurning View Post
    If an author mentions that the carpet is green, it better be important that the carpet is green.

    .
    I feel called out.

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by BornForBurning View Post
    The innocuous, incidental details of reality--those we intentionally avoid mentioning, because it muddies the scene. If an author mentions that the carpet is green, it better be important that the carpet is green.
    Not sure I agree! Writing and reading fiction is still an artform. For me I like to get lost in a novel. I am a visual reader, so I like to picture the story like a movie in my head. The more work the author does for me, the better.

    Quote Originally Posted by EternalGreen View Post
    I feel called out.
    No need...
    Sometimes in the waves of change we find our new direction...
    - unknown

  10. #10
    Not sure I agree! Writing and reading fiction is still an artform. For me I like to get lost in a novel. I am a visual reader, so I like to picture the story like a movie in my head. The more work the author does for me, the better.
    Taylor, for me, the type of imagery you describe qualifies as 'important.' It contributes to the vividity of the scene. To illustrate my point better, think about all the things an author, even a highly purple one, doesn't describe. If the scene is meant to be peaceful, he probably is going to describe the things that contribute to that peaceful atmosphere, and avoid the ones that break it (assuming he isn't crafting the scene with the intent of subverting it).
    Stranded in Babylon

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