S35E9 – The Confusion Caused by Bad Blocking

Few things throw readers off in a book like characters or objects suddenly teleporting in middle of a scene. We’re not talking about actual teleportation, which is more than plausible within fiction. We’re talking about blocking – a term borrowed from theater, used to describe the scripted motions of each actor with each other and with their surroundings. Bad blocking is when the author accidentally places a character at a doorway when seconds ago they were sitting on the couch, or when the physical choreography of certain scenes are simply too unrealistic. It can happen in fight scenes where a sword is accidentally pulled through a sheath because the author writes motions that aren’t possible with a real sword. It can happen when characters are interacting and accidentally reach through one another to grab something.

This problem is most often caused by a lack of attention, which is what makes it a big red flag for readers. If the author isn’t paying attention to the details of where characters are, then how much are they paying attention to the rest of the plot? In this episode, Ley and Leigh discuss the most common mistakes made when it comes to bad blocking, and the easiest ways to fix them.

First aired September 29, 2022.

About the Author
I'm an editor and cover designer for AspenHouse Publishing. I am also a host for AspenHouse's poscast, Writing Roots.

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