E18 – Scene Analysis with Roland Denzel (video, show notes, files, transcript)
All relevant files in ZIP format.
In this episode, Miss Catherine M.H. and V.E. Griffith do a scene analysis with Roland Denzel on a chapter of his new project, Lost Girl.
Thriller (1983) by Michael Jackson (video)
Schitt’s Creek (series, 2015-2020)
Wednesday (series, 2022- )
Find Roland online:
Support us on Patreon at https://patreon.com/revisionwizards
The Revision Wizards are at https://www.revisionwizards.com
V.E. Griffith’s website: https://www.vegriffith.com
Miss Catherine M.H.’s website: https://www.scribes-pen.com
Transcript and files at: https://revisionwizards.com/?p=2303
V.E. Griffith 00:00:02
Welcome to the Revision Wizards podcast. I’m Ve Griffith, and I’m joined by my witchy cohost, Ms. Catherine M. H. This is episode 18. This episode is sponsored by our amazing patrons who help us build our podcast so we can help you make your editing and revision process better.
Miss Catherine M.H. 00:00:20
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V.E. Griffith 00:01:02
This week, we have a new guest for a scene analysis, Roland Denzel. He wrote an excellent piece and we’re excited to share the discussion with you. And with that here we go.
V.E. Griffith 00:01:13
OK, so we’re here today with a new guest. If you would please tell us your name and your pronouns.
Roland Denzel 00:01:19
Hi. My name is Roland Denzel. My pronouns are what are they? They’re, he, him.
V.E. Griffith 00:01:25
Thank you very much. Okay, so we’re doing a scene analysis on a scene that you sent us a few days ago. And we’re going through the Revision Wizard scene rubric section by section. So tell us about what we’ve read and what this story is and where we are in the story. What would I need to know or what would I know coming into this scene?
Roland Denzel 00:01:48
So, coming into the scene, this is a scene in the patio, obviously an outdoor section of a coffee shop near the nearest street. And the main character, Kat K-A-T is she is meeting with an attorney who she wanted to meet in sort of a public place, not in her own apartment and not in his office. So they’re meeting outdoors and she is suffering from amnesia. She doesn’t really know exactly who she is. She only knows what she’s been told. She’s been recovering from a car accident and recently, a few months back, released from a hospital and sort of set on her own, given an apartment. And yes. So she doesn’t really understand what’s going on with the world totally at this point. And things just start to get stranger.
V.E. Griffith 00:02:47
Okay. It’ll be interesting to see where we go with this. Ms. Catherine, do you want to go through characters in the scene for us?
Miss Catherine M.H. 00:02:55
Sure. You always start with me on this. All right.
Roland Denzel 00:03:02
I don’t know if it would help. It’s not a surprise. This is an urban fantasy. Right. So you’re going into it knowing that there better be some paranormal shenanigans going on. Right. And so there have been a couple of scenes previously to where she doesn’t know if she’s had a thing with a therapist. She understands that she has supernatural or superhuman hearing and that she doesn’t understand why she has it. Her therapist doesn’t believe her that she has it, and she goes through life sometimes where people just don’t notice her. Like, she can just sort of drift in. Like when she gets embarrassed or something like that, she’ll sort of drift into the background and people will literally sort of not notice that she’s there and she doesn’t understand why this is going on.
Miss Catherine M.H. 00:03:55
That makes a lot more sense.
V.E. Griffith 00:03:57
Miss Catherine M.H. 00:03:58
Roland Denzel 00:03:59
Oh, good. I guess that’s the trouble when you just look at a scene at a scene in time, right, like, when you don’t always know.
V.E. Griffith 00:04:08
Yeah, exactly. Especially if we’re not doing chapter one, scene one, there’s background information that we don’t necessarily have. My criticism and my comments on this scene are really about only about what I’ve seen in this scene. Just so everybody knows, if I make a mistake, it’s probably because I’m lacking context.
Roland Denzel 00:04:31
Yeah, you did a good job of saying there must be something that happened before there, so I’m satisfied. That was pretty good.
V.E. Griffith 00:04:39
Okay. And if there wasn’t something, maybe that’s a cue for you to put it in. Okay. Characters, Ms. Catherine.
Miss Catherine M.H. 00:04:48
Yes, characters. Okay. So we have Kat, who seems to be our main character. I wish there was more of her voice, at least at this point, because I wasn’t getting a whole lot from her voice. That sounded almost monotone for me. Her inner dialogue and her out dialogue just didn’t have a voice for me. However, as this is like chapter two, we probably have already started picking up on her voice just in this chapter. I wasn’t getting it. Her emotional state is confused, which makes sense. She doesn’t know who she is, so she would be confused. The stuff going on around her is confusing, so that is also adding to her confusion. And then her physical condition goes from being pretty healthy to I am bleeding and need to stop my bleeding arm. So that’s definitely Kat. And then we have the rock star, and I’m assuming that’s just what we’re calling him. The voice matched the strangeness of this character. The emotional state was questionable, which I thought was perfectly fine because this person is interesting to say, just put it kindly. And then their physical condition, I would say you could tell something was wrong with them the moment you meet them. The movements could be just a little bit clearer for me, that’s what I’ve got with that one. And then with Tyler, the voice sounds very like confidence, knows what they’re talking about, and then becomes void during that day’s period, so doesn’t know what’s happening, doesn’t quite catch on. So it really does add to that moment. And that’s the same with the emotional state. They are pretty much confident and then completely under this mind control. And because of this. I labeled them as a weak human for their physical condition. So that was me for the characters.
V.E. Griffith 00:07:10
That’s about what I got as well. I thought Mr. Tyler sounded agitated. As I think back on it, that may have only been after Rockstar’s appearance. He was clearly discombobulated by Rockstar, and I don’t know why, which I assume is author’s intent. I thought that that worked well. If he’s a mere mortal, then I thought the whole thing worked well. In terms of Mr. Tyler. Kat is confused. She doesn’t understand what’s going on. She doesn’t understand. She doesn’t understand what the files are that Mr. Tyler has. She doesn’t know what she’s looking at, or she’s in denial about what she’s looking at, something like that. Rockstar seemed to me to be angry and challenging, but neither the reader nor Kat really understand why or what’s going on here, which, again, is exactly where we’re supposed to be, I think, considering where we are in this story. So for the next section, in terms of protagonist wants, the protagonist wants to understand what the heck is going on, and she doesn’t get there. The whole scene just makes her more confused. It’s clear to me Kat doesn’t get what’s going on either before or after the confrontation with Rock star. She doesn’t understand what the deal with Rockstar is. She wants to understand, that’s very clear, but she never does. For me, this sets up a larger story level conflict, and it works well in that end. So the story is going to be some kind of a growth arc for Kat as she understands what’s happened to her, gets past her amnesia, and comes to some kind of an emotional understanding about what’s going on. That’s my sense of where we’re headed in the story. I rated this section to be excellent. What she wants is well defined. It’s clear to me. It’s clear to the reader. It’s clear, I think, to Mr. Tyler that she doesn’t understand what’s going on either, and I think he wants her to. So the other characters understand what’s going on as well. So I thought protagonist external pursuits were excellent.
Roland Denzel 00:09:13
Should I be commenting along the way?
Miss Catherine M.H. 00:09:15
You certainly can.
V.E. Griffith 00:09:16
You absolutely can. Usually we’ll do the two editors, and then we’ll ask your feedback, but yes, if you have something to interject, please do.
Roland Denzel 00:09:24
The only thing I guess I would add is in the previous chapter, it was pretty much just between Cat and Mr. Tyler, and he’s like a ready to retire or already passed retirement age lawyer who’s, like, been sent out to figure out who she is, why she shows up in these records. Please explain these records to me. They don’t make sense. He’s annoyed that she doesn’t understand either, and he’s just like, I just want to get this over with. They just paid me to do this. I don’t want to be part. So he’s already annoyed by the time Rockstar comes in.
V.E. Griffith 00:09:59
Okay, yeah, that makes sense. That makes sense. Catherine, what did you think?
Miss Catherine M.H. 00:10:05
I marked the section as good. I saw it as her external wants is to know who she is. It’s not really to know what’s going on. It’s, I want to know who I am. And for me, I marked that as good. She definitely the chapter starts off with her being like, hey, who am I? And then it’s restated again when you’re with the antagonist. So she’s like, what do you mean, who am I? Who are you? I don’t know who I am. So clearly I don’t know who you are. So I thought that that was good towards the end of the chapter is where it gets a little less, which is why I marked this as good for her being like, who am I? It was suddenly about a pair of glasses and why don’t people see me? So that’s what I marked it as.
V.E. Griffith 00:10:58
What about internal desires?
Miss Catherine M.H. 00:11:01
So that was to understand herself. So she wants to find out the external who she is, but she also wants to understand what she is. So I marked that between fair and good so I could see her trying to figure things out. But then there was a bit of pacing at the end of the chapter that really slowed down her trying to think it through that I think would have made this better. So she wants to understand what’s going on, wants to understand and needs to, like, what is happening to her. So, like, she herself, what am I capable of doing? Can she talk to animals? It sounds like she can talk to animals in this chapter. So now we know she has the hearing. I was able to understand that through this chapter that she could hear things that she wasn’t supposed to be hearing. So I think her internal want is to know her like she herself.
V.E. Griffith 00:12:08
I rated this section as fair again, just based on what I see here. I think that just a sentence or two about her internal voice and her confusion added during the beginning of the scene with Mr. Tyler would not go astray unless she has more clearly already expressed this confusion and the reader already knows about it from chapter one. So somewhere it needs to be there, but I think that a sentence or two about it. Who the hell am I? What’s going on? I don’t understand. Not just I don’t understand or remember anything about these records. I don’t know where they came from. She would have somewhere along the way, she would have noticed other things that are happening to her that she doesn’t get, and that would confuse her. I think that given the level of writing that I see in this scene and the skill of the author, I think that that’s going to become clearer or it can be added easily. One of those two.
Roland Denzel 00:13:09
Are you making me blush.
V.E. Griffith 00:13:12
This is good stuff. I’ve read way worse than this. So this is good.
Roland Denzel 00:13:17
It could be worse. You write a review?
V.E. Griffith 00:13:26
Well, when I’m done line editing, it absolutely. What does the antagonist want? External pursuits. Ms. Catherine?
Miss Catherine M.H. 00:13:32
To start or to get the file. And so I mark this as good. You can tell that this person wants the file, and I think that they themselves get in the way of getting the file, so and I was also thinking, I’m like, well, they’ve mentioned that others are looking for her. It makes you question the lawyer a little bit, because for right now, I don’t know how we got these files to begin with. So how is this group suddenly looking for these files? And to me, it makes me wonder if the antagonist will continue to be Mr. Rockstar or if it’s an organization that he is working for or it’s a group and he just happened to mess up at this moment.
V.E. Griffith 00:14:24
I’m not sure — I understand that he wants the documents. I don’t understand his larger motivation. And I don’t think the reader is supposed to either, because he’s obviously a new character coming onto the scene, which is fine. It’s clear that he is willing to be extremely nasty to get what he wants. So he’s definitely a dangerous person. He’s unwilling or unable necessarily to explain why he doesn’t he he doesn’t go into any detail. I don’t think that he needs to. I rated this section to be excellent because it’s real clear what he wants. It’s well defined. It’s obvious to the reader. Other characters understand what’s happening to him, what his deal is. So I think that this one was spot on in terms of antagonist’s external pursuits.
Roland Denzel 00:15:12
Yeah, I agree with everything you said and both of you. So you both brought up some good points and also gave me some ideas on I feel like a lot of the things you said, the motivation probably will become clearer later. And some of them was some of this will have been made clear earlier. Both true. But I’m also like going, oh, there’s some other areas in previous chapters where I could do a little bit more.
Miss Catherine M.H. 00:15:38
I have a question for you. Okay. The hand movements. So I drew you really horrible stick figures for that. But as he’s walking, all I could picture was the thriller [Michael Jackson]. And I’m not sure if that’s what you meant he was doing or not, but that’s like he’s walking and that’s.
Roland Denzel 00:15:59
All I could see a little bit. But did you see Schitt’s Creek?
Miss Catherine M.H. 00:16:03
Roland Denzel 00:16:06
You can watch some of it. So, Annie, I can’t remember whether that’s the actress’s name or the character’s name, but she’s the main daughter in the family. She does this thing where it’s like she talks. It’s kind of hard to see, but it’s almost like a t-rex with the little t-ex hands as she’s, like, walking around like this, almost like she’s holding. And she said she got it from I already had similar kinds of things, but I beefed it up a little bit after she described it because it was like so I just wanted this person to be almost like david Bowie, keith Richards, johnny Depp kind of like this all of in Pirates of the Caribbean doing all this sort of flowy stuff and with his hands, just kind of like doing this thing, almost like he’s high or crazy or just wacky. So it’s very similar. Not thriller, so much not as choreographed as Thriller, but similar movements. Yes.
Miss Catherine M.H. 00:17:06
Okay. Well, that’s what my horrible stick figures were trying to portray.
Roland Denzel 00:17:10
I think Wednesday I think Wednesday does some of those in that Wednesday show. She does a little bit of that.
V.E. Griffith 00:17:15
Stuff, too, and I pretty much missed it completely. But I am want to do that. And so that’s one of the reasons why I work so well with Ms. Catherine, because she sees stuff, I see stuff. I missed it completely, but obviously it’s in there. And that’s, in some ways, just sort of a failing of mine. But my image of him is very clear, that he’s flamboyant, he’s weird, and he’s intentionally so my sense of him in terms of a rock star equivalent would be Mick Jagger on steroids.
Roland Denzel 00:17:54
That’s an excellent visualization. That’s a good one right there.
V.E. Griffith 00:17:58
Yeah. So having seen Mick Jagger on stage several times, he’s absolutely. This is, in some ways, a Mick Jagger impression that I love it.
Roland Denzel 00:18:08
Yeah. With a flowery flowy shirt unbuttoned a little bit too low. Right. And swagger.
Miss Catherine M.H. 00:18:16
Clearly, I missed the rock star zone because for me, I’m like, I don’t know who you’re even talking about. I know of the name, but I’m like, I don’t know what they look like. I don’t know what they do. So in my brain, I went to K-pop, which was another thing that I brought up. I was like, what time frame is this? Do you have a year set up? Or is this, like, completely fantasy now?
Roland Denzel 00:18:43
Miss Catherine M.H. 00:18:43
All right. Just making sure.
Roland Denzel 00:18:45
No, it is now, but you brought up a good point, so you brought up a good point. So, like, in my day and age, and I don’t know how old Aaron is, right? But, like, I’m 55, so, like, my rock star equivalent, like, immediately comes to mind. He also saw Mick Jagger, which is perfectly equivalent, you might say Peter Frampton, like, all these people. But maybe I need to come up with some sort of characteristics so younger people will also have a better visualization.
V.E. Griffith 00:19:18
Yeah. Some of this might be target audience kind of thing. Or if your target audience is wider and just so everybody knows, I’m 48. And so you could do multiple examples. So you could find a K-pop star that’s got the image that you want, and so you could maybe mention them by name. I don’t know if the Rolling Stones exist or K-pop stars exist in this world.
Roland Denzel 00:19:42
Oh for sure.
V.E. Griffith 00:19:44
So she could think of both names simultaneously so that everybody has an image.
Roland Denzel 00:19:50
Or maybe one of the other patrons out in the coffee who are whispering about the person. Maybe they could bring up somebody like, oh, is that so and so from the yeah,
V.E. Griffith 00:19:50
that’s a great idea.
Roland Denzel 00:19:50
Oh, no, he’s too old or he’s too young or whatever like that.
V.E. Griffith 00:20:04
Okay, that makes sense. Yeah, that would be a great idea. She doesn’t have to do it because she’s concentrating on her confusion, but somebody else could notice it. That’s an excellent idea.
Miss Catherine M.H. 00:20:17
So I was going to say the other part. A, I loved his little jazz hands at the dog. That made me laugh so hard. But especially with nowadays, the hand flapping is a very big sign of autism, and it’s usually like when it’s written, it’s stuff like this, and it’s very common in trying to help diagnose with autism. So I did mention that for you, just in case that was something to put on your radar or anything.
Roland Denzel 00:20:49
Yeah, definitely. I don’t want it to be confused with that. I want it to be like, I’m afraid, teasing, kind of a rock jazz hands, not out of control, not like a palsy kind of a thing.
V.E. Griffith 00:21:04
Yeah, I got that very clearly, and I thought it was hysterical.
Roland Denzel 00:21:07
Miss Catherine M.H. 00:21:08
I got the jazz hand part. It was great. Poor dog.
V.E. Griffith 00:21:14
Okay. For his internal desires. I didn’t really have a sense of his internal need yet, unless it’s just control of the situation. Or maybe he’s after some kind of privacy about what the files are going to show. Maybe they involve him. I don’t know. Maybe it’s something that he did, some kind of criminal, something that he helped get Kat into this situation. I have no idea. I rated it fair because of the lack of clarity around his internal motivation, just like everything else, I think. I think this will be better explained as the story goes on. I think this is a black hole that the reader is supposed to be in right now. This is confusion to draw us into the story. And I think from that perspective, it worked very well.
Roland Denzel 00:22:06
Miss Catherine M.H. 00:22:07
I also thought that it was like, we don’t have to know it. I couldn’t find it at all. I marked it as underdeveloped, and I’m like that’s 100% okay. At this point in your book, because I was like, we’ll find that out later. If even this character is an important character.
V.E. Griffith 00:22:25
I certainly hope he’s an important character because he’s a good character and I hope he was not killed by the bus.
Miss Catherine M.H. 00:22:32
He’s a vampire.
Roland Denzel 00:22:34
V.E. Griffith 00:22:35
Yeah, I know. I can tell that he’s a vampire, but I hope that things go well for him and we see him again because he’s entertaining, and the purpose of this writing is to be entertaining.
Roland Denzel 00:22:52
So I’ll send him your best wishes.
V.E. Griffith 00:22:54
Yes, exactly. What about conflict, Miss Catherine?
Miss Catherine M.H. 00:22:58
So, for conflict, I had two big conflicts in this chapter. Conflict number one is, I thought, as Rockstar has upset the atmosphere in the cafe and is now demanding for the file. So that, to me, starts the conflict. I marked that as good. I could see the movement. I could see the build of this. He’s going to demand something. He’s looked at her a few times, can clearly read her mind, at least to me anyway. And you can see that the conflict went from, haha, look at everybody, to I’m directing it straight at you. So I’ve already caused enough commotion, and now I can point at you. So that’s what I saw as the first conflict. The second big conflict was after the bus incident. So in this case, it was I saw it as, So she’s left behind to try to figure out what’s happened. So this moment of it’s calmed, but now what the heck happened is the conflict that I see in this one. I marked this as underdeveloped, because through that section, I felt like it could be clearer. I couldn’t pinpoint for you an exact location of where this idea of, oh, this was the conflict for this zone. So to me, I thought that that part was underdeveloped. I could just tell that the new conflict was what just happened. So that was that was my conflict. What about VE?
V.E. Griffith 00:24:45
I thought I really only identified one, and that was Rockstar’s appearance and demand for the for the documents. That’s what pushes her out of her every day. The amnesia and the story level conflict starts a little bit earlier. But in terms of this scene, rockstar’s appearance is very clearly what pushes her out of the status quo that she was already in. In terms of talking with the lawyer, I rated this as excellent because it’s real clear it’s not under her control. It is unavoidable, and it sets the stage for some kind of choice that she’s going to have to make. Even if she doesn’t actively think about the choice, there are multiple options in ways that she can go about this. She can do lots of stuff, and we’ll get to that when we talk to choice. But I thought overall, this was excellent. I thought that the confusion after the bus incident was well written. I can see that it can be considered, or that the bus incident is another sort of inciting incident. But we have talked on the show before that an inciting incident and the conflict are not necessarily related to one another. You can have an inciting incident that isn’t about your conflict, that the conflict becomes evident later. And the bus incident may be one of those kinds of incidents. And it’s clear that she doesn’t spend a whole lot of time wondering, where’s the corpse? Instead, she goes toward his eyes and the glasses. And I’m not sure why. What made her focus on that. So maybe a little internal dialogue about that and her confusion surrounding that and why she fixates on that as opposed to what everybody else is fixated on, which is the bus accident would not go astray here. Just a little bit of another sentence or two of internal dialogue would work. Well, Roland, what do you think?
Roland Denzel 00:26:44
I agree with you. In fact, there’s a couple of things. The rock star was actually, I totally had reworked the scene from an earlier scene where the conflict was between her and Mr. Tyler, and they had an argument. She ends up taking the documents and they go off for separate ways, and she discovers within the documents in the next scene and gets upset about that. I thought, well, that’s really not enough conflict, and people are going to want to see paranormal stuff right earlier in the book. So why not make it more dramatic? And where can I introduce a vampire early on? And I wanted it to be a dramatic vampire entrance that does not kill her. It still leaves more questions than it answers. Right? There’s a vampire. Oh, my gosh. Now I know vampires are a real thing or like, is that a vampire? Like, that kind of a thing. But it would also leave her with a couple more mysteries, like, what is he talking about? Why does he know who I am? And I don’t know. There’s more of those. So I added him in because of that, and then I fleshed him out more when I decided I wanted him to be an ongoing character that’s going to come back later in the book. As for the glasses, I wanted her to have the glasses later on so she’d have them. So I stuck it in there to go back and find the glasses. Right. So that was why she gets the glasses, because I want her to be able to have conflict with him with Rockstar later and have his glasses. It’s like, it’s such a minor thing, right. But the reality is, I’ve already thought I saw your notes because it’s spoiler for everyone listening. I read your notes beforehand and I’m like, oh yeah, it’s a great idea. I would like her to just notice the glasses on the ground and find them rather than go back and specifically look for the glasses. Because you’re right, there’s no real reason for why I need to get those glasses. And the only reason she’s really fixated on the eyes is because they’re solid black with no whites. And that’s unusual, right? And she’s going to think, well, that’s why he was wearing the glasses, probably, right? So then when she is investigating so my addition will be that when she’s investigating, where did he go after the bus accident? She will see the glasses out of the corner of her eye, pick them up, make sure no one’s looking and take them with her. Because previous in the previous scene, she also begins to have a distrust of police authorities and things like that because the attorney warns her that, you know, other you know, there’s other signs that the police aren’t to be trusted as well. Not the police specifically, but just don’t trust people, you’re not safe, so don’t get arrested. She doesn’t want to get arrested. She doesn’t want to risk talking to the police. Right. Which I think comes to one of your later questions about, like, why doesn’t she stick around and talk to the police?
Miss Catherine M.H. 00:30:01
Cool. That does help me out with that.
V.E. Griffith 00:30:04
Well, that one makes sense to me because yeah, that makes sense to me because I have no interest in talking to the police myself. It’s like, get me away from this. I can see for her that there is no situation in which talking to the police is a good thing for her. So it makes perfect sense that she wants out of there.
Miss Catherine M.H. 00:30:04
Roland Denzel 00:30:29
I agree in my mind why she would think that, but I think it doesn’t come across so I think Ms. Catherine is correct and I didn’t come. I think your excitement of this might be getting you to that point where I think other people would go, like, why wasn’t she trust the police? Because a lot of people do trust the police, and if they see an accident, they might say, it’s my responsibility to stick around. But in this case, she’s like, I can’t trust in. So I think maybe, possibly beefing up the suspicion of the bystanders about her and them saying, it must be her she accused him of doing. She’s going to oh, my gosh, she’s going to be arrested for killing that guy. Like, being responsible for inciting. So maybe they will have worked themselves up to where she’s like, oh, my gosh, if I get talked to the police, they’re going to throw me in jail instead of looking for that dude.
Miss Catherine M.H. 00:31:21
That makes sense.
V.E. Griffith 00:31:22
Yeah, that makes sense. That makes sense. Yeah. That’s a direction that absolutely could work. Yeah. Okay. So I’m going to turn it around. Ms. Catherine, what did you think about choice?
Miss Catherine M.H. 00:31:34
So, for me, I had two choices to go with. My first one, it was to try and stop Mr. Tyler from leaving or to give in to Rockstar’s demands and back off. In her case, she decides that she is not backing off and she’s going to physically hold Tyler there. Knowing that he’s an old man. Makes a lot more sense now because I was like, if he’s already under this mind control, wouldn’t he just try to leave anyway? But being like, older and on the frailer side is now what I’m picturing. She could hold them a little easier. Does make me wonder about the push, though, because she does push him and he doesn’t move at first and then have to. Push him again. So there is a little bit of that.
Roland Denzel 00:32:26
I think he’s old, but I’d have to look back. But I believe I wrote him as old and very overweight.
Miss Catherine M.H. 00:32:36
Okay, that makes more sense.
Roland Denzel 00:32:40
But not like athletic or anything like that.
V.E. Griffith 00:32:43
Okay. So that makes me wonder if she’s my guess is that she’s a vampire and doesn’t know it. One of her abilities might be strength that she is not aware of. And so she might push him harder than she intends or than a normal person would. Would that have some physical effect on his body? Could she accidentally knock him down, something like that, as another clue about and if not, that’s fine. It just occurs to me that that’s a thing in terms of I went with best bad choice here, either hand over the folder or refuse and resist. And obviously she chooses to resist. It’s unclear to me what the stakes are, but that’s because I think it’s unclear to Kat what the stakes are. She doesn’t understand why this guy wants the folder. She doesn’t understand what the records mean, so she just doesn’t have a clue. I rated the choices fair again, wider context probably pretty good fits within the confusion of the character. And that’s fine. I think it all is of a piece in terms of the way it’s portrayed. It’s portrayed consistently and as part of her confusion about her situation. I think from that perspective, it’s absolutely fine.
Roland Denzel 00:34:06
In the previous scene, Mr. Tyler had shown her some of the contents of the folder, the file, and one of them was a picture of her, a black and white picture from 50 years ago. And it’s clearly of her or her mother or her grandmother, but it looks exactly like her, right? And it is from an asylum that is no longer that has been shut down. And so these are records, like patient records from that asylum. And there are clues that this is actually her. Because as soon as they say the name of this patient, she’s like, that’s basically her name. So she’s like, oh, I didn’t know that that is my name, even though she didn’t know. So it’s starting to spark memories, but then she’s wondering why. Who is this person in there that looks exactly like me? Hair, everything but 50-60 years older.
Miss Catherine M.H. 00:35:15
I definitely liked this moment where it almost seems like time slows down. So if she’s able to, that’s what that moment had started to feel like. So the paranormal stuff is my brain was going to there’s a lot of space between what she is doing to the moment that the consequence happened. So I’ll get into that again in a few moments, but it seems like time slowed and she was able to do more. So maybe she has speed or she’s not actually slowing time. She’s just faster than normal. So that seemed to like pick up for me, which makes this choice interesting because she’s acting much faster than maybe people around her were seeing, which leads to some of that confusion later on. My other conflict or my other choice was to let the cops handle things or to take the glasses and go. And so for me, she just takes the glasses and goes. And I couldn’t understand why she would like move in that direction to take the glasses and not talk to the cops. A few reasons being like you’re a woman who is just assaulted, so unless you’ve got a fear of cops or something is going on, I felt like that it just didn’t seem right why she wouldn’t stay around. So the choice she made felt weird and I couldn’t figure out why. So knowing that, I guess the cops aren’t to be trusted and she’s already got that fear makes more sense as to why she would be like peace out, as soon as they showed up.
Roland Denzel 00:37:01
Well, that’s a good I’m glad you mentioned a woman who had been assaulted because that gives me sort of a different as a guy, maybe it hadn’t really occurred to me to look at it from that angle. So maybe that’s a different thing to consider and or work in more previously to make it more clear why she would not stick around when the police are there.
V.E. Griffith 00:37:26
One idea might be that she has been assaulted in the past unrelated to this story, and she had a negative association with the cops treating her with the way the cops treated her. And that is perfectly in character for millions of women’s experiences with things like domestic violence or sexual assault and things like that. And so if she has that experience, she would naturally distrust the police and not want to go through that again as well.
Roland Denzel 00:37:54
Yes, actually it’s easy because I have a scene where she’s walking home earlier and I could just have her see a cop and just go to the other side, wait for him to pass and just do something like that and have some sort of internal dialogue for that. A couple of lines will take care of that, I think.
V.E. Griffith 00:38:12
Yeah, I think that works well. In terms of consequence. Spoiler alert, she gets the files, the lawyer and the rockstar disappear. I didn’t predict either that the rock star would be hit by the bus or that once it became obvious that he was going to get crushed by the bus, that he would disappear. The lawyer giving everybody the slip doesn’t really surprise me, but it’s not out of character. The only thing I’m thinking is that his leaving the documents behind might be since he was already gathering them up at some point in the scene after we encounter rockstar, so it seems like he would have to have some mental lapse to leave them behind. That is certainly possible. And he might just say, this is not worth it to me. Peace, out. And I know that we’re in her point of view, but it’s something to consider about maybe she might think about that or she might wonder where the hell he went, why he left the documents behind. Because she sees them there, she takes them and she doesn’t question why they’re there.
Roland Denzel 00:39:22
I noticed your point there and thinking about having a bystander mentioned that he walked off in a daze or possibly making him having something later on where they found him sitting on the bus because remember, he had been ordered by Rockstar to go get on the bus. He was still under that mind control. So he just went and got on this bus even though it was not going anywhere at this point.
Miss Catherine M.H. 00:39:54
I was going to mention that that’s where my brain went when I was like, oh, he’s gone. He got on a bus. I could see also, I’ve read a lot of vampire stuff where it’s like, they’ve been mind controlled and then they’re still doing whatever it was the vampire had wanted them to do, even if it was like, oh, I could have you didn’t have to. Well, you’ve been washing dishes for, like, the last seven days. My bad. So I’ve seen stuff like that.
Roland Denzel 00:40:25
I forgot to turn you off.
Miss Catherine M.H. 00:40:27
Yeah. So for me, the consequence because I have two I rated it as good. So the consequence was she gets attacked by Rockstar and it was satisfying because you could see it building. And I was like, yes, this is the correct movement that this needed to go in. I enjoyed the animalistic view that he was and then the dog I was like, yes, the dog. Good boy. But then it got a little confusing for me, which is the only reason I didn’t make it excellent was the movement between the dog and rock star because suddenly the dog is pushing them into a street. And is that because something that she would have subconsciously like, if she can talk to animals or think to animals, then is this something subconscious that the dog would have pushed them out into the street instead of trying to pin them? So it just made me be like, I don’t know about that. Definitely loved the bus hitting him. It was great. There was the question, and I did mention it with the bus, 40 miles an hour in a city sounds really high for a bus to be driving.
Roland Denzel 00:41:54
Yeah. I asked a couple of bus drivers to make sure it was okay, and they clarified. They said I even had somebody run a physics simulator for me to have. Would I be able to see the bus at the bus stop and could it be going 40 miles an hour? It doesn’t even have to be going 40 miles an hour, but, I mean, I could tone that down a little bit if it sounds too high, even though it is realistic, they said especially on a busy street, 40 mph is not that bad. And they even said about a quarter of a mile. That is not a bad acceleration. I’m thinking about making it an empty bus though. So there were no people on the bus, in which case the driver could accelerate, is free to accelerate faster, but I don’t have to say 40 can take the time. Let the reader imagine how fast it is too, if that seemed, if that takes you out of the story.
Miss Catherine M.H. 00:42:52
And then it did seem a bit unrealistic for the, for the driver to not have hit the brakes. I mean, like anytime somebody sees something in a road, they’re either taking their foot off of the acceleration, they’re swerving if they like they’re hitting the brakes. So I feel like it wouldn’t have gotten down the street before the guy hit the brakes. I just feel like he would have done something. Granted, if it’s going fast, it’s going to take a while to stop.
Roland Denzel 00:43:26
He definitely did hit the brakes, but I definitely need to clarify that because it’s not too far down the street, but it’s just like here’s the shop and there’s another shop, maybe like one more shop and that’s where it stops. So it’s not super far down the street, but it’s just not. But I’ll definitely have to put some screeching of brakes sounds or something like that.
V.E. Griffith 00:43:48
He wouldn’t swerve because he would know through training that he would roll the bus. So if you’re going to take somebody and you can’t stop and you don’t have a choice, you want their body print, whether it’s a deer or whether it’s a person. You want the body print as close to the center line as you can get it because that’s for the bus and for the other people who aren’t going to get hurt or who might not get hurt, that’s going to be the safest place to take it.
Roland Denzel 00:44:16
Yeah, well, in the bus driver’s view, there’s this guy smashed against the window kind of like right in the windshield right there already. Because what it doesn’t get mentioned is the vampire would have superhuman strength as well. So he tries to jump out of the way, doesn’t quite get it, and then gets smacked by the bus. But he’s not killed by the bus, obviously, so he gets out of there.
V.E. Griffith 00:44:42
My other question that I had is unrelated to the bus. I was unclear until later, until after the bus incident, that they were actually sitting outside on the patio. I thought my imagination was that they were indoors. And part of the reason for that was you wouldn’t want to be sitting on a patio with these files, a, because it’s going to be quieter and more private, but also you wouldn’t want to be sitting in the wind with these files.
Roland Denzel 00:45:09
You wouldn’t want to. But in the previous chapter, there was no place to sit inside.
Miss Catherine M.H. 00:45:13
Roland Denzel 00:45:15
So they went outside okay, so there is an explanation.
V.E. Griffith 00:45:18
That’s fine, then. Okay. I didn’t see that. And so that came to me as, again, that’s a perspective thing. That’s fine.
Miss Catherine M.H. 00:45:25
And that brought me to my last consequence, which was she leaves unnoticed. And the unnoticed part was what was bothering me the most, because it went from everybody was pointing and talking to her to suddenly nobody noticed that she walked back outside holding napkins to her arm. Nobody is asked, hey, my God, you’re bleeding. Are you okay? No other woman has come up to her to be like, hey, are you all right? This guy just attacked you. So it just felt very strange that it went from there’s somebody who’s dead under a bus to it with her. It was her. And then nobody notices that she’s around anymore.
Roland Denzel 00:46:08
So it was so I take it it was not clear that she also thought it was weird that people weren’t noticing her.
Miss Catherine M.H. 00:46:15
Yeah, it took a long time because I did mention that through a section where I was like, it would be better to condense some of it and have her inner thoughts questioning why people aren’t noticing her. That part, I think she’s just like, oh, people aren’t noticing me?
Roland Denzel 00:46:35
What about me? I’m over here bleeding, and you people are all worried about this dog.
Miss Catherine M.H. 00:46:39
Yeah, which I would like to know how she knows the dog’s name, but not Cargo Pants.
Roland Denzel 00:46:44
I don’t think, because she doesn’t care. Like, when people when she doesn’t care, she gives people these names. Right. So that’s a trend throughout the book. I don’t know who that person is. I just give them this name out of my characteristics. She uses it in her mental internal dialogue. She is she’s interested in the dog, but also they say the dog’s name in the previous chapter.
Miss Catherine M.H. 00:47:08
Roland Denzel 00:47:09
And the dog comes up to her and tries to do dog stuff with her. She likes the dog, so she remembers his name. And that’s going to be a trend throughout the book where if she likes somebody, she will even internally use their name. If she doesn’t care or dislikes them, then
Miss Catherine M.H. 00:47:09
V.E. Griffith 00:47:31
Okay, that makes sense. Okay. If we move on to mechanics, the next up is showing versus telling. I rated this as between fair and good. Mechanically, I found a fair bit of telling. It wasn’t jarring, it wasn’t info dumpy, and that’s good. But some of it and I did in several cases, some of it could be converted into internal dialogue, and that would make it less telly. And I think overall, I found the scene to be well constructed. It was engaging. It pulled me along. I wanted to continue reading it. I wasn’t like, oh, shit, I got a podcast episode to do with this garbage. It was great. Okay. I really enjoyed it. This is one I wanted to look forward to. So, you know, and it’s been it was it was well constructed. I think the showing versus telling, we could use some work, but I wouldn’t focus on that as the big problem that you have with this scene.
Miss Catherine M.H. 00:48:30
Miss Catherine M.H. 00:48:33
I thought a little differently because I always do. I marked this as fair, so I did highlight the page.
Roland Denzel 00:48:42
I’m sorry, I have to go.
Miss Catherine M.H. 00:48:43
Yeah. So for me, up until right after he was hit by the bus really well, and then that section after got into a lot of telling, I thought more than showing a bit of her confusion. It was just they were chatting around her. And like I said, I couldn’t pick up on the fact that people went from noticing her to suddenly not, and her being confused as to like, why don’t you see me? So I thought that that section could be done a bit better, and it seemed bogged down. So that was the only spot that I felt you could do a little bit more showing with.
Roland Denzel 00:49:29
Well, despite the fact that Aaron said and it wasn’t too bad, his edits and the thing were in line with what you just said.
V.E. Griffith 00:49:40
Well, that just shows you my level of experience with showing versus telling. I thought it wasn’t bad. Yeah, there were some edits, like I said, but it was fine.
Roland Denzel 00:49:49
Yeah. And I agreed. I liked the edits and I liked the suggestions that both of you made. A lot of them were so simple. And I’m primarily a nonfiction author to this point. Right. So I’ve written a lot of short stories and things over time, but I’ve never gotten to the point where somebody has professionally edited much more than a short story of mine. So I don’t get that feedback. So I’ve had way more than the 10,000 hours or million words of nonfiction. But you don’t get into a lot of showing versus telling in nonfiction.
V.E. Griffith 00:50:29
Nonfiction is a lot of telling.
Roland Denzel 00:50:32
It’s a problem over there.
V.E. Griffith 00:50:33
All right. Passive voice. I rated this as underdeveloped. I thought there was a lot of passive voice in this. It’s written in what Crys Cain would call third person close, which is perfectly fine. There were no viewpoint shifts in it. There was no head hopping. I thought it was fine. We stayed in cat’s point of view through the whole thing. That’s great. A lot of it is written passively, as if it’s being remembered in a flashback or in sort of a halfway flashback. And I found that a lot of these sentences could be rewritten more actively by simply reversing the noun in the verb. My personal favorite advice that I always give, if you can excise the words was were and had and their descendants hadn’t, wasn’t, those kinds of things. From your writing vocabulary, you will force yourself to write more active sentences. And so I did that a fair amount, and I thought it needed work there. A number of sentences can be reordered simply to remove those passive verbs without really changing the meaning of the sentence or without having to rewrite whole paragraphs. But I thought that there was a lot of it, so I know that it’s perfectly fine as a zero draft kind of writing style, but as a pass, it’s something that I try in my own writing to get rid of and to make better. Because active sentences tend to hold reader engagement, and especially at the beginning, we want to grab them by the throat and drag them through the story as hard as we can to keep them engaged. Ms. Catherine, what did you think?
Miss Catherine M.H. 00:52:04
So I marked it between fair and good, and the only reason is because I didn’t notice most of it until after the bus scene. So after the bus scene is where I started picking up on the fact that this pacing is a little strange. And then because my editor happens to be really annoyed with my amount of passive voice in my manuscript, I’ve been running it through Autocrit, so I ran yours through Autocrit for you, and I marked down for you how many wass words and hads you have, so this way you can look through and get rid of them. There were 68 wases. So quite a few for the amount of words that you had for this chapter, according to the almighty passive voice person. Ve Griffith.
V.E. Griffith 00:52:58
What do you think, Roland?
Roland Denzel 00:52:58
In going through what you like, your comments in your edits? I guess I saw it all and I agreed, so yeah, definitely could do that. The part where you said, I guess it would be tense, like a flashback thing, I’ll have to take a look at that because there are some times when I’m writing something clearly, the story you’re writing, I’m writing third person past tense. Right. But there’s a difference between past tense and then writing the past tense that happened to the character in the story. Right. I think sometimes I shift back a little bit into that, where sometimes when you get into the had had situation and things like that, there’s other ways to do that. But had had is the common one, or the common one had too many, and it’s always one had too many.
V.E. Griffith 00:54:04
Those kinds of situations are where I saw the passive voice most. So there’s two ways to approach that. One is to simply recast in terms of sometimes internal dialogue can get rid of those. Sometimes recasting the sentences can work and sometimes cutting to a full flashback where we jump in time and then we’re still third person close but the character is experiencing real time in the past can also help us get rid of that kind of had had situation. I don’t know if necessarily you want to do that this early in the book, but that is one approach that you can take.
Roland Denzel 00:54:41
I’ve moved a lot of the stuff that was a flashback to previous chapters, to where they actually happened. So I don’t have the flashbacks later on. And I think that was when I worked with Jeff. He helped me with a couple of things and he said this part of it, this throwaway little paragraph of a flashback, you just go make that the first chapter. That’s amazing. That’s going to be such a great scene. And I did, and it’s worked out really well. And I’m not a huge fan of flashbacks in general. I mean, I think they’re fine later on once you’re into the book and you want to have a short little thing. But I don’t want to start my stories with flashbacks because I think a I think people think they’re sort of a cliche, and I don’t want people to be reading and go, oh, a flashback or a dream. It’s like you can have a dream in your book. I can have a dream in the book, but I already got rid of that, so I don’t need that. And I certainly don’t want confusion about when something happened to the character in the book. So, yeah, polish that up.
V.E. Griffith 00:55:43
The other approach that you can take with a flashback or a time jump into the past is to do it as a prologue.
Roland Denzel 00:55:51
Yeah, I’m not a fan of Prologues. I’m going to do everything I possibly can to get rid of the prologues.
V.E. Griffith 00:55:57
Yeah, again, that’s one approach, and it’s author’s voice, and that’s fine. In terms of sentence structure, I rated the mechanical structure to be good to very good. I didn’t really find issues with things like comma splices missing or overused words, bad punctuation, run on sentences, stuff like that. I think your command of standard written English is very good. Those kinds of errors really pull me out of the story, and so that’s why I tend to focus on it very carefully when I’m line editing.
Roland Denzel 00:56:27
Anyhow, I like what you had to say and my email, I liked it. Thank you. Thank you. Some great points.
Miss Catherine M.H. 00:56:33
Can she talk to animals?
Roland Denzel 00:56:37
Yes, she will be able to talk to anyone can talk to animals, Catherine, but whether they talk back.
Miss Catherine M.H. 00:56:43
Well, I meant like literally, it seemed like when she was like thank you, Cooper.
Roland Denzel 00:56:48
Yes, she is able to communicate with animals, but she doesn’t quite understand that they are actually listening. So she’s starting to realize that they are actually able to hear her when she talks, even if she doesn’t use her voice.
Miss Catherine M.H. 00:57:04
Would you like me to tell you what my sentence structure was? No.
Roland Denzel 00:57:08
Miss Catherine M.H. 00:57:09
Roland Denzel 00:57:10
You can if you like. I don’t know if you want to.
Miss Catherine M.H. 00:57:13
I thought it was fair to good. There are a few places where I could see the paragraph getting broken into two or one of her I think I marked it in one section where I was maybe I didn’t, but I’ll look back through, there was one section that it would have hit more had you broken the paragraph in two. I think it was right before she tells him to or tells the dog to calm down. There’s a section like, the paragraph is really long, and I was like, oh, if you had broken that up, it would have built the tension or the speed. I’ll look back, make sure I marked it.
Roland Denzel 00:57:59
See here’s where I’m torn? Like, this is like, one of the things where you get conflicting advice from different people. I’m a fan of reading shorter paragraphs. That when something changes, something changes. Boom. You can have a one line or you can change. When something important happens, you want to focus on something. You often change the change to a new paragraph. But when I’ve had some of my other stuff critiqued in the past, they’re like, well, why? Your sentence is your paragraph is so short. I’m like, Well, I don’t like to have dialogue, and then there’s an action beat, and then there’s more dialogue. And just because it’s the same person doesn’t mean it all has to be one paragraph. So I like to break it up to make it, give it some emphasis. So there might be a little bit of a mix and match there.
Miss Catherine M.H. 00:58:48
Yeah, I write the same way where I will go through sections where you’ll have normal paragraphs. And then when things are, like, building and I want it to start building, and I want you to start noticing that time is ticking, the paragraphs will get shorter and shorter, and then there’ll be a sentence or sometimes it’s a word. So it just builds that tension. But I only do that with my Sci-Fi, my steampunk. Poor VE deals with a lot of flowery sentences.
Roland Denzel 00:59:23
Steampunk is more literary.
Miss Catherine M.H. 00:59:26
Thanks for joining us. This was great. Clearly, we’re having a little yes, we’re having a little bit of difficulty for VV. Yes. It’s finally his turn. So you have a few books out. You also run some courses. Where could our listeners find you?
Roland Denzel 00:59:47
The best way to find me as my website for authors is Indestructibleauthor.com, and I have a couple of my books that are relevant. All my books are relevant. Authors are human beings mostly. I’m a health and fitness writer historically, so I don’t write historical health and fitness. Oh, no, I do. I have one book that has historical health and fitness, but mostly I’m a health and fitness writer historically, but all that stuff is relevant to authors. And I’m actually working on a book specifically for authors called The Author Brain, which is going to be for people who have writer’s block, brain fog and all the things. So it’s all the things that you can do mentally, emotionally, and energetically and also nutritionally, to eliminate and habitually. All the Ly words, right? To sort of conquer your writer’s block, get rid of the brain and fog, and get back to writing. So indestructibleauthor.com, you can find me right there.
Miss Catherine M.H. 01:00:56
All right, sounds great. Well, thank you so much for joining us, Me at the moment.
Roland Denzel 01:01:01
Thank you for well, it’s been great. It’s been a pleasure. I really appreciate your feedback. I learned a lot.