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Old November 18 2013, 12:18 AM   #62
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Re: Writing questions

A scene of someone giving a tour of the ship feels contrived. It could be made to work, though, if the admiral getting the tour were someone significant to the story and had some kind of difference of opinion or tension with the tour-giver that would come out during the scene, so that it wasn't just a travelogue. For instance, in Forgotten History I wanted to write a scene describing how the Enterprise's engineering section was laid out, to put all the various parts we saw in TOS and TAS into context, and so I had Kirk, Spock, Scotty, and Commodore Delgado traveling through the section while they debated with Delgado over whether they should undertake the time-travel research mission seen in "Assignment: Earth." That way, the travelogue wasn't what the scene was about; it was just a bit of background texture that gave some movement and variety to what would've otherwise just been a long conversation.

Of course, even that was a bit self-indulgent of me. In general, if the layout of the ship isn't important to the story, then it shouldn't be addressed in any detail. I guess it was kind of relevant in FH, since it established the relationship of the engineering section to the rest of the ship, and that played a role in the story as it unfolded.

Ideally, you should try to avoid writing a scene that's only about giving exposition. There should always be some kind of character subtext or dramatic tension, something to give the scene emotional stakes that the audience can get invested in. Even just having a new crew member who's lost and trying to figure out how to get around the ship to find their duty station could do it, because then it's a scene about a character who's trying to solve a problem and achieve a goal, rather than just an infodump.
Christopher L. Bennett Homepage -- Site update 11/16/14 including annotations for "The Caress of a Butterfly's Wing" and overview for DTI: The Collectors

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