Thursday, 10 March 2011

Workshop: Wave Theory Plus

There is a pretty famous writing technique called the Wave Theory. In practice, it's about characterisation and breaks down into three things:

  1. emotion
  2. dialogue
  3. action
So you would write first the emotion, then the dialogue, then the action (or reaction). Such as:
Harry was furious. 'How dare you tell me my wand isn't up to scratch, Hermione?' he said, as he stormed out of the room and slammed the door.
Now, as you can see, the technique has some benefits and some drawbacks. It does indeed show us how the character feels and characterises him as a bit of a big baby. But it also tells us his emotional state upfront, which has become exceedingly unfashionable among fiction writers.

I propose, then, the Wave Theory Plus. Complete the exercise as before, for any character you can think of, but afterwards, go back and delete the 'emotion' part. From your writing it should be clear how the character feels and acts anyway:
'How dare you tell me my wand isn't up to scratch, Hermione?' he said, as he stormed out of the room and slammed the door.
Better, no?

If this doesn't work for you, perhaps layer in more action, or more dialogue, and take it from there.

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