A Moment In Spacetime


Plots and Storyboards

We have been told that a plot is important for a narrative but that need not always be the case. Some scenes can function without a plot or storyboard, purely throttled by a character and their response to something internal or external.

Of the many ways to do this, isolation is one. If some part of the story can be isolated in space or time, then we have an entire scene which revolves round that part. The conflict can be muted and the writing can be description heavy.

These pieces typically become vignettes or slice-of-life stories.

Consider Tales from Ba Sing Se in Avatar.

Example

If I had to write a piece around a single moment in time, I would choose something emotional. Say, a man who sees a date. And zoom in to that moment in the story.

This then becomes a story on waiting.

He looks at the creeping hand of the clock up on the wall behind the bar, placed awkwardly among mentions of special drinks that day. He looks at the closed card on the table and sighs before picking it up, finding again that he is not interested in ordering anything.

Exercise

Write a short entry (max. 1000 words) which zooms in to a specific point in time or space. The entry must be complete, which means that cliffhangers and rants are a strict no.

A few tips:

  • Zooming in to a moment does not mean that you lose information that is relevant to set that moment up. Those setup details can come in a few details that you choose to include in the text at various places, often as minor mentions.

  • Emotion works well in vignettes, especially that which is understated or overstated.

Prompts

Here are a few prompts to get you started. You can choose to ignore these and write your own ideas.

  • A man is about to meet his college crush in a restaurant. Five years after graduation, he is still infatuated with her.

  • A Benaras ghat, where two boatmen often target the same set of tourists.

  • An award show where a down and out musician gets nominated for a popular choice award.

Further Reading:

  • Piku has multiple vignettes.

Author: Ayush

I love writing, and this blog serves as a slow growing collection of all my writing endeavours.

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