Identifying the beats and focal points of the story, how does Dybek use these to move the story forward?
We didn’t is a story about two lovers who are caught up in passionate moments and almost end up engaging in sexual intercourse but they never do. Dybek uses beats to clearly describe the step to step experiences that the two lovers have and makes the reader to feel like they are in that moment.
The beats bring out the scenario the way it is to the mind of the reader, for instance the part where the two lovers are on the balcony and get so caught up, Dybek writes that the man licks the salt from his palm and moves his hands slowly up her soft thighs. As they are about to kiss the girl whispers, “I think Doris is watching us”, and they stop (Dybek, p45). This is a beat that shows the way they are sited and acting. The story is filled with such beats. Dybek also uses focal point; this is the point to address the relationship because in the end the two come to realize that sex is not as important as having that relationship and friendship.
How can you use your understanding of beats and focal points to strengthen your own writing, both at the drafting stage and at the revision stage?
Writing is not all about having a talent or a good story to tell. It is also about the skills one uses to keep the reader wanting to keep reader. It is about how to maintain a flow of curiosity while still leading to a moral point and direction (Scofield, p27). Beats are used to keep the story flowing as events culminate; this connects one event to the next in an effort to show the actions and ways of reasoning of the people involved (Scofield, p56). They show the readers the characters of the people and their ways of reasoning. The focal point is the actions of the people were leading to. Without the focal point all the actions of the person would not mean a thing. The focal point gives the actual meaning and without it the story has no stand and will not make any sense.
I can use beats to create suspense and a flow of events as the characters in a story are involved in their day to day life experiences. Focal points can be the moral of the story, the repercussions of the actions that make the story to make sense.
Dybek, Stuart, We Didnt, the Scribner Anthology of Contemporary Short Fiction. 2nd Edition. (2007), Touchstone Print, New York.
Scofield, Sandra, the Scene Book: A Primer of the Fiction Writer. (2007), Penguin Group Print, New York.