The British line during Fort la Presentation's annual Founders Day French and Indian War reenactment in Ogdensburg, N.Y.
Advice for Writers of Prose
The Elements of Writing Scenes in Prose
What is a scene? A scene is a term that encompasses not only a situation, but what activity occurs and the setting in which it takes place, the people or animals that are involved, and the nonphysical atmosphere or attributes that correspond. As it is in drama, so it is in other forms of literature.
Think of a scene this way: it is something that MUST take place, either to propel the plot, to develop or reveal character, or to establish a certain mood or setting. If the scene is superfluous (that is, "fluff" or unnecessary), then you do not need to write it or include it in the finished piece. Although sometimes it is helpful to write an unnecessary scene, you should cut out any extraneous material in the final editing process.
There are several main elements to keep in mind when writing a scene. They are as follows: character and character consistency, action and dialogue, setting, props, and delivery. We will discuss each of these elemen
A ribbon streams from the crease of her lid
her lashes the ashes of ages.
She follows the form of a riverbed
its cut into landless, aging shifts.
You and I
You and I
wear rug burns like badges,
pray to our patron saints
(Mordecais and Marys),
drink and marvel,
this is our hour
and this our glittering sand.
You seek corners
to tag, to mark with daffodils;
the smell of our capabilities
an untoward bliss.
How many names have they
called you by? This many
and this, counting stars
in the Southern hemisphere,
burying bags of teeth.
And I in turn am carving
a stone I'll never touch.
I put your names upon it,
and mine always beside them.
Along the way we've lost things --
rivers, a fledgling, the mist
-- and you, of all, know best,
we'll never get them back again.
Love is a spent argument.
He pounds his fists into walls until they're hammers
until they belong to no one but a faded thought
then all anger gone, he drains himself
he is a spinster in a window,
he is an owl vomiting bones and threads.
Love is an anvil, a turquoise angel
love is a tarnished trinket, a
burnished bronze river-shore.
Love has a name but
it is overused and simplified,
it is a glyph with no more meaning.
Hasn't love a goldfish? Hasn't love an
afternoon picnic blanket? There was a
star named love once. There was an ocean,
an island, an inlet, a shore. There were letters
but they've all been tucked away to yellow.
There was a mudpuddle once. It has dried.
Love was once a friendship and
once a horned god in search of goddess fingers
to free him, to teach him, both clean and taint him.
Love was a desert rose in a rainstorm.
Love was a lost toe in a trench and a ring
at the bottom of a wall.
A tree was decorated with love once.
Ribbons and bells and belt loops,
tinsel for trimm
Alexander in white
a black-edged rose blossoms
from his side, the ringing room
and staring faces half aware;
he collapses amid a smell
of acrid candlesticks, the
pistol warm in hand.
Eduard the exile
ventures oceans, deserts, continents
to fall before the feet of Giralda,
reputed beauty of California.
He does not praise her
night-black hair, lips like
plump currants, nor those
Giralda knows, she the silent
spectator to his hollow love
as his voice begs her hand.
Viole, lace at his throat,
clutches stone walls and lets fingertips
bleed, buries the poisoned cross,
the wounded side, the inability to quiet
his cries of great need.
Viole, who digs at the bedboard
and leaves long terrible troughs of stained
wood; rips tapestries down,
rage and consequence burning
in places kept unseen.