E21 – Scene Analysis with Lily Ann Fouts (video, show notes, transcript)
In this episode, Miss Catherine M.H. and V.E. Griffith analyze Chapter One, Scene One from Lily Ann Fouts’ next memoir about her travel experiences and being a responsible traveler.
Snow Crash by Neal Stephenson
The Sky Below by Parazynski
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V.E. Griffith’s website: https://www.vegriffith.com
Miss Catherine M.H.’s website: https://www.scribes-pen.com
Transcript at: https://revisionwizards.com/?p=2157
The scene and edits so you can read them! http://revisionwizards.com/wp-content/uploads/2023/02/2023-04-20-E021-Lily-Ann-Fouts.zip
Miss Catherine M.H. 0:00
Welcome to the revision wizards Podcast. I’m Miss Catherine MH and I am joined by my enchanting co host V.E. Griffith. This is episode 21. And today we’re going to do a scene analysis with Lily Ann Fouts. And in it, we will be discussing the first scene of her new memoir about her travels and how to travel responsibly. This episode is sponsored by our amazing patrons, who helped us to build our podcast, so we can help you make your editing and revision process better.
V.E. Griffith 0:33
We don’t have any new patrons this week. But we remain so grateful for everyone in our community, whether they support us financially on Patreon or not. Our patrons help us to pay for transcripts of our shows available on our website, and for better audio recording quality. So listening is easier on your ears. If you’d be willing to help support the show financially. For as little as a buck an episode, we have a bunch of neat benefits you can take advantage of including a special podcast feed with extra content and personal updates, early access to scene analysis slots, the opportunity to ask questions for Ask the editor episodes, professional editing, and more. You can find out everything you need to know at patreon.com/revision wizards. And with that, here we go with Lily.
Alright, so we’re here today with a new guest. If you would, please tell us your name and your pronouns.
Lily Ann Fouts 1:22
My name is Lily Ann Fouts and my pronouns are she her?
V.E. Griffith 1:27
Great, thank you very much. So we have a scene analysis that we’re doing today. And so tell us a little bit about the scene what what would somebody coming to this want to know.
Lily Ann Fouts 1:42
This is the first scene of the book that I’m writing about responsible travel through the story of my life basically, in a nutshell.
Miss Catherine M.H. 1:54
V.E. Griffith 1:55
So we’re doing a memoir, this is
Lily Ann Fouts 1:57
a memoir. And it basically starts at the time when I’m a child living in Mexico fall in love with the culture in the town there. Leave Mexico against my wishes, because I’m still too young to make that call. And always dream of going back and in between that time travel a lot and learn a lot about traveling. And it all is relevant to me because I want to be the best person I can be back in this hometown that I dream of returning to.
V.E. Griffith 2:33
Okay, well, that sounds good. And it’s it’s helpful in some ways to know that this is sort of a scene chapter one, Scene one, because we don’t know anything about it. But that’s exactly where we’re supposed to be because we’re just coming into the story at the beginning. So all right, Miss. Catherine, and I did sort of a combination of the nonfiction rubric, which is available on the revision wizards website. This is our first time doing a memoir nonfiction and the regular scene rubric that we always do for fiction. I chose the scene rubric because this is narrative. And you’re telling a story, Miss. Catherine chose nonfiction, because it’s not fiction. So there we go. Miss. Catherine, you want to start us off?
Miss Catherine M.H. 3:16
Sure. So I guess we’ll start with the problem. Here, I said that you marked between fair and good, you mention it. But you like without the cover or without knowing a whole lot. I’m not grabbing exactly what the problem is from just reading the section. So the problem was that people if I remember correctly, it’s only been a little bit since I read it, but but that you’re trying to get people to understand travel, but also how to do it responsibly. And with respect to the culture that is there.
Lily Ann Fouts 3:57
Yes. Essentially, the the problem statement actually comes in the next chapter, kind of where I describe like, what the problem is that I’m going to solve in the book. This first chapter is more trying to get people interested in the story. So they’ll keep reading. Yeah, but that is basically the problem.
V.E. Griffith 4:17
I missed the problem statement completely. And maybe that was just because of the direction that I was going to just looking at it from a narrative point of view. But it it heartens me to both hear Miss Catherine’s commentary on it that she did catch it because sometimes she catches stuff I miss, but also your statement that it’s not actually there. So, so I don’t feel quite so dumb.
Miss Catherine M.H. 4:45
So a solution. I see that this is it’s good. And what I mean by that is that you are offering people even if they don’t know what the problem is yet to come with you on a journey. So you’re not being like, here’s what you do you’re offering to, like, drive them or like sit in the passenger seat and talk to them as you go about it. So it seems much more, not really one on one, but road tripping, if that makes any sense. So, so in that case, I thought that the solution was good, because you’re grabbing the person in that sense, even if we don’t quite know exactly what the problem is just yet.
V.E. Griffith 5:28
Yeah, I certainly want to read more of the story. I felt like there were definitely some changes that I could that I could make. And we’ll get to those when we get to mechanics. But I felt like this was certainly something that grabbed my attention that I want, I want to read more about. So send me the novel when you’re done. You know, because I this is this is a story that that appeals to me to begin with. So.
Lily Ann Fouts 6:02
That’s good to hear. You always want to convey that in the first chapter. So.
V.E. Griffith 6:05
Yeah. That’s, and that sort of goes to the next section on the nonfiction rubric premise. And hook is this unique, engaging and provocative. And I would have, I would have rated this good, for the most part, it is not something that left me angry that I only had one chapter, but it also was enough to go wow, I really wish I had number two. So it was it was sort of it wasn’t, it wasn’t perfect for me. But it was it was good enough that I absolutely would continue turning the page if I had more.
Lily Ann Fouts 6:40
Okay, good to hear.
Miss Catherine M.H. 6:41
So I have two hooks, really, the way that the flashback is working in this chapter just doesn’t seem to work where it’s at, because it cuts away from the explosion, which is supposed to be like the, oh, it’s so nice to be in the background. You’re like, what, and then you’re like back in the day. So it just takes away from that explosion moment. And then the other hook was the fugitive statement, where it’s like this whole long list of who you’re running away from. And now I’m just because I’m like, Wait, did you get away from them? Is this continued, are you still in hiding? Like, so there’s a whole bunch of questions there. So I thought it was it was fair, in the sense that with the flashback, we just gotta move, move the flashback somewhere. And I think that you’ll have a hook that’ll just keep people go,
Lily Ann Fouts 7:43
Okay, now the reason I switched where I did, and maybe you can help me, like, as we converse, today, figure out how a better way to do that would be but I, I wanted to leave them hanging. So they would keep reading to figure out what what that explosion was later on. So that’s why I cut away at that point was okay, so here’s, I’m gonna go back and tell you what happened. But keep reading, you’ll eventually get back to the explosion and find out what that was all about. I don’t know if I did that. Apparently, I didn’t do that. Quite right. So I’m very curious to hear some solutions or options to take there.
V.E. Griffith 7:43
Well, wit the rest of the chapter, I felt like it was pretty obvious that the explosion was at least something having to do with the drug war. And that was real clear and real easy to a conclusion to draw. So if that’s the right conclusion to draw, then that might be a problem because it’s too predictable.
Lily Ann Fouts 8:40
Okay. Makes sense.
V.E. Griffith 8:43
So Catherine, what do you think?
Miss Catherine M.H. 8:45
Yeah, I could definitely see that. It’s very, almost easy way out. You’re in Mexico. They are unfortunately known for their drug cartel. You hear an explosion. It’s not like you’re in like the United States where you would hear an explosion and be like, Well, hold on, what is that? Or if you’re in like different countries, different explosions, we’ll be like, Oh, my God, or just an everyday occurrence. And the way Maria Teresa had acted, was almost as if this was an everyday occurrence. Don’t worry, sweetie, go to bed. So, so yeah, well, we’ll have to come up with something.
Lily Ann Fouts 9:24
V.E. Griffith 9:25
Lily Ann Fouts 9:26
Really good points you’re bringing up there. So.
V.E. Griffith 9:29
The next section on the nonfiction rubric is authenticity. I feel like if it’s memoir, it darn well better be authentic. Because otherwise you’re not writing memoir. You’re writing fiction. But the the credibility came through that you do you did have this experience, this is something that was real for you, and that you’re telling at least your retelling of a true story memoir is always colored by the you know, all memory is colored by the person doing the remembering. And this is a Obviously no exception. What your mother remembers, what your father remembers, what Maria Teresa remembers are is going to be slightly different from your memory. But that’s okay. And it comes through that this is your authentic story.
Miss Catherine M.H. 10:14
I went with the side of research when I was looking at that section because yeah, I mean, it’s it’s your memories. So of course, I hope it was authentic. So, in my sense, I went with the the research side. So I rated this good based on the research, because in this, you’re talking from the authentic side, and that you’ve mentioned, you’ve done research, but you haven’t shown us what it is. And you’re going to ask us to come along for the ride for it. So I thought that that was good in that sense, where you’re telling somebody, Hey, I have answers to these things. I’m just not giving you it in chapter one. Yeah, so that leads on to almost the research section, which is literally…
V.E. Griffith 11:03
Have you done the research?
Miss Catherine M.H. 11:05
Lily Ann Fouts 11:05
Miss Catherine M.H. 11:06
Yeah, I put underdeveloped because in this chapter, there is no research. I mean, there’s your memories that have been researched. But other than that, that’s it.
V.E. Griffith 11:16
So the next section is organization. Basically, the question is, is the book logically organized, I thought it was reasonably well organized. And it was clear that you jumped into a flashback, I am not sure that the flashback, the flashback is necessary, because it’s your experience as a child, and you’re comparing and contrasting your lived experience as a child versus your lived experiences as an adult, I am not sure that the way you did that jump was right. And we just talked about that where you know, explosion, and then flashback, you may be able to rework that in a way that instead of doing it as a flashback, as a firm flashback the way you’ve done it, where you completely change time periods. She, you your character, your lead character goes through and has her conversation with Maria Teresa now, and you sprinkle in the memories, as character thought, or I don’t know if this is in your this is an ethical question about memoir. But do you want to have a conversation with Maria Teresa, about those differences? Because I’m, it’s reasonable to believe that you would have. Oh, I noticed this is different. It seems like a reasonable question that you might have asked, I don’t know if you did. And if you didn’t, then maybe you shouldn’t put you know, you shouldn’t create a scene where there isn’t one. But that sort of back and forth compare and contrast you can you can bring in the elements that you remember, without doing a firm flashback. If if that’s not you know, if it works better that way.
Lily Ann Fouts 12:50
That is an interesting thought to bring it in, I would have to invent a conversation. But the the content of the conversation would still be true story. So you know, wouldn’t be like, I’m completely making things up, you know, the conversation itself could be a reconstruction of, you know, thinking back to years earlier. I can explore that as an option. That might be a good way to do it.
Miss Catherine M.H. 13:15
I had marked it for and I put just this chapter because I don’t know how the rest of the book is. But I think the flashback it needs to be moved around. So I’ve marked it as fair. And like once you move at it, it’ll be fine. We just have to figure out where. And I did mark a few spots where I thought you jumped back into the present. And then when will present 2010 and then went back further. So I did mark. And I wrote like, Oh, hey, if you just cut this sentence out, and then put it over here that’ll keep it going.
Lily Ann Fouts 13:50
I saw that catch. Good catch.
V.E. Griffith 13:54
Yeah, I missed that one.
Lily Ann Fouts 13:55
Yeah, I didn’t even you know, you write stuff. You don’t notice that. But that was a really good catch. So thank you for pointing that out.
Miss Catherine M.H. 14:02
Yeah. And then I marked two spots that I think the flashback could go. So there was one where I think it was just after the explosion, or them talking about the explosion. And you’re thinking about how it’s unsafe to be there. And then you would do the flashback into hey, look, this is what it was like, but then I had to leave and now I’m still confused and hold on. Other people don’t get to leave. So I have that version in there. And I cannot remember where I put the other one.
You did mark, I saw that at least two spots where you like could go here. So I’ll play around with it with those different options and see how it flows.
V.E. Griffith 14:45
Okay, the next section on the nonfiction rubric is emotional tone. I felt like the emotional tone for this was just about right. I had mechanical difficulty with the writing and we’ll talk about that in a little bit. But I got a sense of wistfulness for the world that was. During childhood, it came through that those memories are positive and good for you, it came through that your new experience of this place as an adult was confusing and different. And I think that that’s what you were going for both with the 2010 and with the, with the flashback. I think that the emotional tone was excellent. It gives me a sense of where you were, and where you’re at, as you continue through your story, you know, with these two threads of your childhood versus your adultness, your adulthood and the differences between your two experiences, I think that I don’t know, obviously, I don’t know if that’s the thread, you’re gonna you’re trying to open up with this flashback. And you’ll continue the dual threads as we go through the story. But that sort of is what I would be expecting at the end of the you know, we’ll see your continuing childhood and you’re continuing exploration of your adulthood.
Lily Ann Fouts 15:58
I’m glad to hear that because I did want to really give a sense to the reader of how special this place is, to me, I have this emotional investment in this place. And I love it so much. And I want to go back there so badly. And I’m just not sure I can because of the safety issue at this point. So yeah, and where can I go because I don’t feel like anywhere is home except there.
V.E. Griffith 16:25
It seems like that your confusion with not feeling like home, that anywhere is like home. And the idea that you can’t come back to this place, as you know, because of the danger, you would stick out as a, you know, frankly, as a as a privileged white person in this environment. And that would make you a target for things like ransoms and kidnappings and extortion. And you know, because that that’s, that’s what can happen. And that would obviously be a concern.
Miss Catherine M.H. 16:58
For me, I thought the emotion got a little lost. With the switching of times, you would start feeling a connection to one version of yourself. And then you would swap it and just as you’re starting to get acquainted with that person, you go back. So I felt that the switch had been a little jarring for the like emotional connection, you have all the emotions there. But I feel when we move the flashback a little bit that you’ll get a deeper connection will feel this nostalgic that you have to this home. And then the reality of I can’t be here anymore. And that last feeling at the moment. You have the nostalgia and then you’re going back into well, there’s an explosion. So now we’re back into the present. And everything just seems to be like Oh, or sad.
Lily Ann Fouts 17:59
Miss Catherine M.H. 18:01
I feel like it’s good. It’s getting there.
Lily Ann Fouts 18:04
Yeah just a little rearrangement.
V.E. Griffith 18:06
Yeah, I will say that I felt more of an emotional connection with the child Lily than I did with an adult. I don’t know if that’s intentional or not. But the character that I latched on to was the child.
Lily Ann Fouts 18:21
Miss Catherine M.H. 18:22
Ooo. That’s interesting. I latched on to the adult version.
Lily Ann Fouts 18:26
Miss Catherine M.H. 18:29
Yeah. I always have to be contradicting V.E.
V.E. Griffith 18:34
Of course, I wouldn’t have a podcast if it wasn’t. What about pacing? Miss Catherine?
Miss Catherine M.H. 18:40
So pacing for me, I highlighted and combine sections for you and this one. So I wrote there lacks transition between movements of the scene, almost like a contains tangents that slow the pace from problem to solution. So for me, the blockage that you have set up at the moment, almost seems tangent, like to get to the problem. You’re trying to be like, Look, it’s nostalgic, but now we’re back to the present. And it just felt slightly off to me.
Lily Ann Fouts 19:16
V.E. Griffith 19:16
I would agree, I feel like the two, the two threads that we have here are paced slightly differently. And so they are generating a different emotional response. And I don’t know if that’s what you’re intending or not. But that goes back to which character that I latched on to. And so, I feel, you know, on the other hand, the question on the rubric, does the book does my book, keep the reader turning pages? Yes, you know, that’s a firm yes for me, and I wanted to continue reading and so that’s, that’s positive, and it may be something with reworking the rework or when you’ve reworked the flashback, either by moving it or by making it you know, by creating a conversation or creating even an inch internal conversation, where we’re not necessarily talking to Maria Teresa, but we’re watching Lily have her own thoughts and feelings. You know, that’s dialogue as well. And so, you know, we can do we can do that. And that situation helps us see Lily’s voice in what’s going on here.
Lily Ann Fouts 20:22
Miss Catherine M.H. 20:23
Yeah. Shall we wait on the three C’s until you go through some of the other rubric?
V.E. Griffith 20:30
Well, the only thing really, that I was gonna go through on the other rubric was, frankly, the mechanical, the three C’s are the big thing to go through. I felt like from a scene perspective, the conflict was pretty clear that the two threads of adult Lily and child Lily brought that into focus where we’re not in Kansas anymore. That struck me as the main conflict of this story that we have gone back to this place that we have fond memories of that we loved. And it is not that place anymore. And something is wrong here. There is a world in which I can see that that conflict would continue as a thread through the whole story.
Lily Ann Fouts 21:04
Miss Catherine M.H. 21:05
V.E. Griffith 21:06
Miss Catherine M.H. 21:06
I did the two the two conflicts. The past one, which I put as underdeveloped but you were a kid, you didn’t really get a choice, or like it all happen to you. So that was fine. We saw it happening. You didn’t get a choice. I am curious to know how old you were at the time. That was something I felt like I missed throughout I know that your sister was eight. But I have no idea if you’re older, if you’re younger, where you are in relation to that.
Lily Ann Fouts 21:38
Yeah. So at the time we left Mexico, I was 13. But yeah, I should probably clarify ages.
Miss Catherine M.H. 21:46
So yeah, so a lot of that was happening to you. So on all of those I’m like, sorry. Like, you don’t get a say because you’re a child. And I know that feeling. But then. So for the 2010 I felt that the conflict was fair. So it’s home is no longer safe, is what I saw was the conflict. So it’s that moment where you’re sitting at the table, and it hits you guys that this might not be the area you want to move into if an explosion happens a kilometer away. So that for me was the conflict.
Lily Ann Fouts 22:25
Interesting. I saw that as more of a choice. Like, should I risk going back to the place that I love where all my friends still are? But it’s dangerous? Or should I go somewhere that doesn’t feel like home? But maybe I’m safer? You know, that was kind of my, the way I saw it is that that’s a choice. So it’s very interesting. I could see how it could be a conflict as well. Very interesting.
V.E. Griffith 22:52
Well, I felt like the choice was propelling us in the direction of which way do I go? Can I do you know, can I come home? Or do I have to stay away and be, you know, essentially be a nomad in a place that that isn’t home. But I felt like if that’s the choice that we’re making, that was not super well developed. It’s obvious in a way it didn’t to me, seemed to pull on her heart hard enough.
Lily Ann Fouts 23:21
V.E. Griffith 23:22
It doesn’t necessarily have to do that in this scene, because it is only the opening scene. Not every choice on a scene level needs to be a life and death kind of decision. This could be a global choice, and then it becomes a heart wrenching. What do I do? You know, which baby gets to live kind of question. But I you know, I thought this I thought it was reasonable enough to be going on with but it was not a it was not presented as a heart wrenching choice. I think in part, that’s because it wasn’t decision time. It wasn’t time to pull the switch yet. We were just still sort of investigating our options, right. But but it’s going to be much harder when it’s time to actually put money down on your choice. Yeah.
Miss Catherine M.H. 24:07
V.E. Griffith 24:08
Lily Ann Fouts 24:09
Yeah, I feel like that comes in 2019.
Miss Catherine M.H. 24:16
Nine years later, got it? Yes. For me, I saw the choice was to either reevaluate your situation and I and your ideas about something or sit around and mope, and then ignore it. And that’s what I saw as that moment. I’d like because I’m picturing you sitting at the table. You’re all like, Oh, no. And you’re starting to like really think over things. And either. People sometimes don’t like to think about their situation and come to realizations and they’ll stop themselves. And I felt like you made the choice sitting at that table to continue to think about it and to actually brought in what you had thought you originally wanted to do. So I thought that the choice was to actually reevaluate what you wanted.
V.E. Griffith 25:09
That makes sense to me as well. I thought that that that would but that was not the approach that I took. So or that, you know, the approach that I got. What about consequences, Miss. Catherine?
Miss Catherine M.H. 25:19
So for my consequence, again, your past self had no choice now. They just had to leave but your, your 2010 version of you, you’re so there’s two consequences in that there is the reader consequence. And then there is the narration. So for the narration, I saw that the consequence is that you decide to learn more about this revelation that you’ve made. For the reader, their consequence is, here’s a book are you going to jump. So like, you have now got this far, you’ve, you know, picked up this book, because you have the conflict, you’ve chosen to read it your consequence is now there’s a rest of the book, I’m not giving it to you right up front. So that’s what I felt was a good lead. In that sense, I liked the way you had offered, like I said, to do the road trips. So that was with, like the reader. So for me, the consequence was definitely learning about the revelation. And now you’re going to explore that throughout the rest of the book. And you’re also having a consequence for the readers.
Lily Ann Fouts 26:33
I hadn’t thought about it from the reader point of view. That’s really interesting. I like it.
V.E. Griffith 26:39
Good. I felt like, the consequence here was that 2010 Lily is just forced to reexamine her life and her values and her plans. And I think that that’s perfectly appropriate in, you know, in this sort of chapter one scene one kind of kind of writing. I thought it was, I thought it was pretty good.
Lily Ann Fouts 27:02
V.E. Griffith 27:03
It’s enough to set up to begin to set up the next conflict, you know, as she continues to do her investigation and continues to try and make choices and reflect on her world and her experience.
Miss Catherine M.H. 27:16
Yeah, we wonder how that turned out. We just don’t know. If only we knew somebody we could ask. Autobiography. Got it.
V.E. Griffith 27:31
No, it’s a biography. It’s a it’s a flat biography written by your ghost. So if we switch to the to the scene rubric, if we go to the mechanic stuff, excuse me down toward the bottom, Miss Catherine, what did you think about showing versus telling here?
Miss Catherine M.H. 27:50
I felt there was a lot of telling, there were a little moments where I marked lol because I laughed. The painted houses that got me that still stands out to me, where your mom’s like, Look at these beautiful houses, and then you pull up to a non painted house. I thought that was the best. Or it’s like, this is a non painted house.
Lily Ann Fouts 28:11
That’s funny. I never even thought about that as I was writing it. That’s hilarious.
Miss Catherine M.H. 28:16
So I did feel like it was a lot of telling, but you’re also flashbacking and flashbacking does a lot of telling so. So yeah, that’s how I think of it.
V.E. Griffith 28:25
I feel like you can do a lot of showing in a flashback. If you write it correctly. I mean, you can still show in a flashback and still make it clear that it is a flashback 15 years ago. You know, the issue that I had, in some ways, was telling through a fourth wall break. I think I to put it bluntly, the last two paragraphs need to go completely.
Miss Catherine M.H. 28:54
I love those. We’re always so different.
Lily Ann Fouts 29:04
Yeah, oh, you can both give me your opinions. And I’ll make a decision here.
V.E. Griffith 29:09
And you can make a decision. That’s, that’s the joy of being the author is that you can you can make a decision. Those experiences would ultimately this is how I rewrote it a little bit. Those experiences would ultimately make me question my right to travel or move abroad at all, period. End of Chapter, the next paragraph, an invitation to the reader. If you weren’t inviting the reader along you wouldn’t have written the book. So that’s plainly obvious. And then, you know, fasten your seat belt and the whole cliche about the, you know, the plane trip.
Miss Catherine M.H. 29:40
Emotional baggage. I love that.
Lily Ann Fouts 29:43
I didn’t know if that was gonna work or not. Apparently, it worked for half the readership.
Miss Catherine M.H. 29:47
I loved it.
V.E. Griffith 29:49
It did. It did work for half the readership. I thought it was funny in context, but I think that the whole cliche is just too cliche.
Lily Ann Fouts 29:56
I wonder if it might be a little too much.
Miss Catherine M.H. 30:00
Well, so I think those last two paragraphs are the consequence for the reader. That’s that moment of, hey, you’re you’re stuck on this road trip now with me. So I liked it. But that’s just me, I guess. I do like the way he ended his as well.
Lily Ann Fouts 30:16
I could potentially keep that ending in there, but change it so that it is not a cliche, like still invite the reader, but in a non cliched way. I’ll have to think on that a little bit.
V.E. Griffith 30:29
Because in some ways, cliches are cliches for a reason, and everybody understands them. But they can also indicate lazy writing, and you’re not a lazy, writer.
Lily Ann Fouts 30:39
Try not to be. Sometimes I am.
V.E. Griffith 30:46
And your readers are intelligent enough to be able to, to comprehend what you’re trying to communicate to them without a cliche, I think that you could definitely write that in in that way. Miss Catherine.
Miss Catherine M.H. 30:58
There is the idea that do you do this, again, later on in the book where you’re directly talking to the reader? Because if you are, then you would want to keep that in the beginning to let the reader know that that’s going to happen multiple times throughout the book, because if not, then that’s the only moment. Or if you take it out, and then like two chapters later, you’re talking to the reader, they’re gonna be like, Well, that wasn’t what’s happened at all throughout. So,
Lily Ann Fouts 31:25
Ya know, I kind of want it to be conversational throughout the book, where I’m speaking to them and figuring things out together with them kind of feel.
V.E. Griffith 31:33
So here we go with the differences. Again, I sort of I sort of disfavored, those those kinds of things. But I also recognize that it is author voice. And so you can do it either way. I feel like as long as you do it consistently. Miss. Catherine is pointing at herself saying my way, my way. We all know Miss. Catherine wins.
Lily Ann Fouts 32:00
Excellent food for thought. Okay, I have a quick, quick little thing on back to the flashbacks and so forth. Do you think I should just go straight chronological? Start the book, when I’m a child, and then come to the point where we’re back in Mexico in 2010? In in a separate next scene? Do you think that’s an option? Or do you think I should still start it in 2010? And, and jump back at some point, just at a different point, if I do that.
Miss Catherine M.H. 32:32
I thought about that, reading through it, whether or not because I think that’s the other thing I mentioned, where it was like, hey, flip this start the flashback, and then go into the explosion stuff. I think that was the I have both for you, I guess, I have either flip it to the beginning, or put it at the end.
Lily Ann Fouts 32:51
I’m just wondering if that flashback scene is that is enough of a grab at the beginning, the reason I put the explosion first is like, I want to hook the reader, you know, with an exciting initial scene, and I felt like the early childhood version was not grabby enough. But I don’t know.
Miss Catherine M.H. 33:12
You could also start something like, in October of 1992, I was ripped from my home. And then go into a little bit of hey, look, I loved this place. And then I’m back. But it’s not the same.
Lily Ann Fouts 33:26
Yeah, that’s it. That’s yeah.
Miss Catherine M.H. 33:28
The other way that occurs to me is you could do, you could do a paragraph or two about this is the place that I loved in 1992. And it always felt like home, and then I was ripped away from it. Then we come to 2010 where then you sprinkle in sort of the rest of the flashback and memories of how it had changed observations of how it has changed. And then you could go to that constructed, constructed dialogue that we talked about.
Lily Ann Fouts 33:59
I mean, options to consider these are a lot of these things are things I hadn’t thought of before. So it’s good to get different perspectives. And like, here’s, here’s where you can think about doing it. Like all of that is really helpful
Miss Catherine M.H. 34:13
We’re giving you like six different ways to go with.
V.E. Griffith 34:17
Miss. Catherine, my favorite section, passive voice. What do you think?
Miss Catherine M.H. 34:21
It’s his favorite section because my work is really filled with a lot of passive voice. So I’ve been working on that. So I’ve, I did notice places where I was like, Ooh, passive voice. So for me as the editor braid now, I’ll notice it a lot more than my my reading brain. I do feel like there are times where the present or the 2010 version seemed almost slower than the flashback. So I feel like that could have been helped by removing the passive voice because at least in the if you want that explosion to Be the peace then have something more around it than just well, and then she went to bed. Like, okay. I mean, I guess maybe that’s exactly what you did. You’re like, yeah, that was fireworks. Sure we’re gonna say their fireworks and then you went to bed.
Lily Ann Fouts 35:18
I choose to believe their fireworks so I can sleep tonight.
Miss Catherine M.H. 35:21
So, but even I guess even there, you could then do a flash into the sense of you’re trying to think of them as just fireworks and be like, hey, this was the past, it used to be this beautiful place. Versus now. So yeah, I’m another version. But yeah, I’ve noticed some passive voice, but I’m gonna hand that back over to VE because he’s better at it than I am.
V.E. Griffith 35:49
I thought it was I thought there was a lot of passive voice in it. I didn’t take the time to rewrite every sentence where I could, the standard advice that I give for people who want to crush passive voice is to try and recast your sentences in a way that removes the words was had and were and their descendants hadn’t wasn’t those kinds of things. And so by removing those words, from your writing vocabulary, you will automatically force yourself to write more active voice. And I feel like a lot of these memories, especially in the flashback could benefit from that. You can do that as you rewrite the flashback such that now we’re in 1992 Lily’s head, and she is, we are experiencing her experiences real time versus 2010. Lilly is telling us what 1992 Lilly experienced? If you go that direction with the the whole flashback sequence, you’re going to wind up with a more active memory. Because 1992 Lilly experienced this actively.
Lily Ann Fouts 36:59
Okay. I have a question for the two of you on I think it’s somewhat related to this present tense, telling a story, right, like writing a book in present tense? Do you are you fans of that style of writing I know it feels a little bit more like you’re in it, because it’s happening right now. I know some people hate it. Some people love it. I would love to know what you guys feel that style of writing.
V.E. Griffith 37:25
It’s hard to do. But I do like it. My favorite book that’s written that way is Snow Crash by Neal Stephenson. It is written in third person present tense, which is a weird way to do it. But I’ve been seeing more of that since that book came out. And that book is probably 15 or 20 years old. Now. It’s pretty old book. But it is for me still a master work in present tense and the immediacy of present tense, I feel like it works well. A Memoir works well in present, a lot of times depending on how you write it. The hard part is we don’t usually write in present tense. And so you’re going to wind up with accidental tense, which is particularly in scenes, particularly in scenes where you originally wrote them in past tense, and then change them. That’s where you wind up with the errors. Intense typos. Yeah, I did not catch any errors intense here. And that’s good. Because I they are I find them to be very jarring. But if you’re going to do first person present tense, go ahead and do it. It’s engaging, you can read it, but you got to be careful with the passive voice because that kills the immediacy. And then you also have to make sure that you stay in that voice.
Lily Ann Fouts 38:40
Yeah. Thought about I’ve thought about experimenting with that. Then there’s one memoir that I’ve read that was written in present tense, it was “The Sky Below” by Scott Parazynski astronaut. I thought it was excellent. But I know it can be tricky.
V.E. Griffith 38:56
Yeah. And so the question then becomes, do you want to do it? And are you a good enough, do you feel like you’re a good enough writer to pull it off? I think the answer to that question is yes. Miss. Catherine, did you have any comments about the passive voice in this?
Miss Catherine M.H. 39:10
Nope. I’m bad at passive voice, personally. So I do notice it now. So that is something. So if I’m noticing it, and I’m bad at it, there could be places to remove it.
Lily Ann Fouts 39:25
I will go back and look through there and make sure I’ve got those all cleaned up. This was a very rough first draft. So I’m not too surprised that you’re finding some some issues there.
V.E. Griffith 39:36
That’s what we’re for. Because if we find them, then your reader will not. And these are the kinds of mechanical issues that will at least for me, will rip me right out of a story. And so I try and be a stickler in my own writing and in you know, in in people that that I’m working with, to make sure that these mechanical issues are not in their writing because You don’t want to read a script out of a story or to have trouble trying to parse what you’re trying to say. You want them to get what you’re trying to say, or not get what you’re trying to say, if that’s your goal, if you’re writing a mystery, you want to confuse them, you know, you don’t want the English language to be the barrier to their understanding. I’m a big stickler about that.
To that end, I felt like the sentence structure, which is the next section, the last section of the scene rubric was very good. I didn’t have trouble parsing the sentences. Generally speaking, I did have some places where I added words I removed words, word choice stuff, move some things around, tighten a little bit. But overall, I thought it was pretty good. Mechanically, I didn’t have you had some layout and design issues, or some issues that we’ll get that you that will bite you, when you get to layout and design and publishing. For example, your hard carriage returns between your paragraphs, those have gotta go. And sometimes you had at the end of a paragraph and extra space, those have gotta go. Now that’s all cleanup that you can do later. But when you get to the point where you’re putting it into tools, like Atticus or vellum, those are gonna make your life miserable. And so the way you want to format your manuscript is you want your text, a single carriage return to end your paragraph text, you can have your layout and design program and even your word processor can do space between paragraphs can do in dents and things like that. And all you got to do is use that format and then set set the paragraph formatting correctly, usually, it’s under, it’s under the paragraph formatting where you can set those things. If you do hard carriage returns, you know, blank lines encoded into your text, you’re gonna wind up with weirdly formatted text. And if you’re doing hardcopy, which, you know, everybody wants a hard copy of their book, you’re gonna see down at the bottom of your pages, your lines are not going to the bottom of your pages are not all going to line up. Because some of your paragraphs are going to break at the bottom of the page. And then you’ll have a blank line there. But on the next page, the page will end in the middle of a paragraph. And so it will line up against that blank line. And so the solution to that problem is to not have blank lines in your paragraphs and then and then tools like Atticus and vellum can do those hang those indents that we were taught in elementary school at the beginning of a paragraph, okay? You didn’t have any tab characters, but you don’t want tab characters to set up your paragraphs either for the same reason. You can you can get much finer control, if it’s just text carriage return text carriage return text carriage return. Okay. So that’s my little rant.
Lily Ann Fouts 42:54
That is really a good thing to think about. I did not even consider that. And I’m using Scrivener. So I think I can make the settings work on the settings to make that happen.
V.E. Griffith 43:06
Are you including the blank lines in your Scrivener documents?
Lily Ann Fouts 43:10
I think I do have blank lines I, I’m terrible. I’m not always consistent. And I need to be like, yeah, yeah, there are some areas where for whatever reason, it automatically has like an indented paragraph. And then when I hit return it indents the next paragraph automatically, and I just leave it when that happens. When it doesn’t indent, I’ll put another space in. So because I’ve pasted in some things I’ve written previously, and so forth, the formatting ends up different on different documents within Scrivener, and I need to go through and just standardize everything. Yeah,
V.E. Griffith 43:10
when when we’re offline, I can show you how to do mass formatting. Because you can reformat, you can reformat your entire document, you know, just by selecting all your text and then you know, and then pushing the formatting that way. And then also remember that your your formatting in Scrivener, when you see it on your screen has absolutely nothing to do with what the reader sees.
Lily Ann Fouts 44:13
Yeah, I’ve discovered.
V.E. Griffith 44:17
Yeah, so you can change the font, you can you know, if you’d like writing an area, which I personally absolutely hate, you know, that’s fine. And then you can present it to your readers in Booker Lee, without any trouble at all. I mean, if you want to write in Comic Sans, because you like the way it looks, you can hide that from your reader, you know, without a problem as long as you as long as you do the formatting consistently. Usually you can fix it in post.
Lily Ann Fouts 44:40
Okay. Yeah, I would love if you have any quick tips for that. I would love to talk to you about that.
V.E. Griffith 44:46
Miss Catherine M.H. 44:47
Yeah, he’s the one to go to. Scrivener is the devil.
Lily Ann Fouts 44:50
I love Scrivener. I just I’m not using it to its full capacity.
V.E. Griffith 44:54
Nobody does. It is such a powerful swiss army knife that you know, nobody uses everything in it and that’s fine. I mean, I don’t use everything in it. You know, I have a few tools that I use. But and I, to be fair, I think that the Compile Function is awful.
Lily Ann Fouts 45:10
I think it’s worse now than it used to be.
V.E. Griffith 45:12
Yeah, in version three, they’ve made it. It’s much more powerful. But in version three, it’s it’s more difficult to use, in my opinion. So yeah. On the other hand, every tool that you use, is going to have its drawbacks. I can’t imagine doing a 200,000 word manuscript in Google Docs.
Miss Catherine M.H. 45:32
It’s not too bad.
Lily Ann Fouts 45:32
It’s so much easier to organize and Scrivener can move things around so easily.
Miss Catherine M.H. 45:39
I find it really easy to organize a Google Doc.
V.E. Griffith 45:43
All right. Was there anything that we missed Lily? Or what what comments do you have after?
Lily Ann Fouts 45:49
Yeah, I think you caught a lot that I missed. And for that, I’m very grateful. There’s there are so many little things that you pointed out, like, Oh, I didn’t even think of that or notice that. So it’s so good to get that feedback. I really appreciate it. This has been great. I I’m looking forward to going in and experimenting with some of the ideas we tossed around. I’ll let you know which, which of you won in terms of whose way we do. I might take a little bit of each of your ideas. We’ll see.
V.E. Griffith 46:23
When in doubt, go with Catherine. That’s just the way the way of the world, you know,
Lily Ann Fouts 46:26
But thank you.
V.E. Griffith 46:28
In a pod. Even in a podcast marriage, we know who’s always right.
Miss Catherine M.H. 46:31
Unless it’s line edits, or spelling. Don’t take my word on spelling.
V.E. Griffith 46:36
All right. Well, I guess we’ll leave it at that. And we’ll wish everybody a good day.
Lily Ann Fouts 46:41
Thank you both very much.
V.E. Griffith 46:44
And that’s our conversation with Lily Ann Fouts. We forgot to ask her on the recording, but you can find her at Lilyanefounts.com, l-i-l-y-a-n-n-f-o-u-t-s.com. There you can find the first chapter of her first memoir “Seven Years Running”, which is the story of her childhood as a fugitive as well as other books she’s written.
Miss Catherine M.H. 47:05
Yeah, and you can find our podcast transcripts, videos, rubrics and more at revisionwizards.com. You can find me individually at scribe-pen.com
V.E. Griffith 47:14
And you can find me individually at vegriffith.com
Miss Catherine M.H. 47:18
V.E. Griffith 47:20