In our writing group, which all of the posters on this blog belong to, we have been picking a “logline” prompt to at least have one defined writing “assignment” to complete for each meeting. A couple of weeks ago, I rejoined the writing group in earnest after an extended absence and brought this piece to the meeting. While discussing it, I pointed out that there are a couple of style “traits” that show up in my stuff. So, I am going to do some commentary on those traits after you read the piece.
Logline: Two sensible circus performers wage war against each other.
“And this, kind sir, is where I landed,” Stefano Graziosi stated, gesturing with pointed finger at an oh so slight indentation in the soft packed earth, “after falling from up there,” he continued, swinging that same finger to point at the neatly broken ends of a high trapeze. Between the two points were situated several layers of netting, each with a man sized tear in the middle.
“And were you hurt in any way?” asked the other man, who, in his three piece suit, looked quite out of place under the big top as various performers bustled about, readying themselves for the matinee show. “I would hate to fill out these insurance claim forms if there was really no injury sustained.”
“I landed deftly, I can assure you,” retorted Stefano, “I am a professional! Which is more than I can say for him,” this last phrase punctuated by a tilting toss of the head to indicate someone who was elsewhere. “I still want to file the report, since this has been escalating of late. Last week my tightrope was slackened a smidge and the week before that my slack rope was tightened just perceptibly. I simply cannot entertain the children under these circumstances! I am a”
“Professional, yes, I understand. Well, I have a similar short stack of reports as filed by Mr. Corvallis, indicating that you have also engaged in random bits of minor subterfuge, interrupting his act. None too severe so as to completely ruin a performance, they were more like annoyances. If I didn’t know any better, I would think your hearts just weren’t into it.”
“Well,” replied Stefano thoughtfully, “the show must go on!”
So, the first thing to bring up is that I eat my own dog food on character names and got all of these from my spam folder as mentioned in a previous blog post of mine. That there was a great name for a circus acrobat was a big plus!
The second trait I noticed occurs in the first paragraph where I interleave some action and dialogue, continuing a gesture as the speech also continues. I think this comes from having written screenplays and trying to convey the “mind picture” around the words.
The third trait I noticed occurs during the interplay of the two characters where the insurance investigator completes the sentence of the acrobat. I think this comes from actively developing an ear for “real world” dialogue where people often talk over each other. This doesn’t always play very well when overused in screenplays, but I used it here with a callback for effect.
These traits are by no means present in everything I write, but they show up often enough -or- are something I have actively worked on refining over time.