Envision your scene, and write in the sequence that it happens. Do not write out of sequence.
Wrong: John ducked, after hearing the shot
Right: After hearing the shot, John ducked.
Wrong: Angelina read the secret document, after stealing it from her boss.
Right: After stealing the secret document from her boss, Angelina read it.
Okay, those are very simple examples, found in lots of text books. Let me give you something more complicated to examine. I came across these lines in an otherwise farely decent story. In this story a couple are dancing:
“Wait!” said Billy, holding her hand as if it were a delicate butterfly. “At least, tell me your name.”
“Susan,” she said, over her shoulder and pulled her hand free, as she scampered across the floor.
Did this scene make you pause? Do you see the awkwardness of the sequence? The couple is dancing; he asks a question, and she says her name over her shoulder… Uh? What? What’s happening here? Are they spoon dancing with her backside to him? Maybe, it’s the Rumba or the Tango? Then we find that he’s holding her hand, so I guess their doing the Rumba and he’s got his hands wrapped around her and is holding her hands in front of her belly. Then she pulls her hand free and runs away—geeze, I hope he let go.
Well, I guess it could happen that way, but I don’t think the writer envisioned the scene that way. Here’s another possible sequence:
“Wait!” Billy said, holding her hand as if it were a delicate butterfly. “At least, tell me your name.”
She pulled her hand free and scamper away. Billy thought he’d never see her again and then, at the last moment, she stopped, smiled back at him and whispered, “Susan.”
Sequence, people, sequence. Write it the way it happened. One-two-three. See it, analyze it, and write it.
Happy Writing… You know, I’d blog more if I thought you were listening. Whaha!