Here’s an example from the second page of an earlier version of my dystopian story: “I went into my faction, a big suburban house at the end of a cul-de-sac where ten boys, including me, lived.”
Well, that’s not very good, is it? I mean, even though the reader doesn’t know what a faction is, my main character does, since he lives in this society, so the fact he sticks in a flat-out mini-explanation of it (“a big suburban house at the end of a cul-de-sac where ten boys, including me, lived”) feels pretty damned contrived, doesn’t it?
I’ll answer that for you: Oh hell yes (note how I left out the comma after the “oh” in order to imply that this is a fast, automatic response; crafty, huh?).
Now here’s that same sentence, revised: “My faction house loomed in front of me at the end of the cul-de-sac. The big suburban residence with its chipped white paint always gave me a warm, homey feeling, even though I only had one real friend in there.”
Well, it might not be perfect, but it’s certainly an improvement. The reason is because it feels more natural. And why is that, class? Because it’s more in the narrator’s voice. The details of what a faction house is have been relocated so they flow in his thoughts. Plus, I’ve added in the way he feels about the faction, which makes those details seem even more natural and prevalent to this moment in the story.
Thank you for your rapt attention, class (*bows*).