"Year of the Adopted Family" book release

Friday, December 19, 2008

"The Gardener's Wife": French Scenes technique

Each story in this "Family Famine: Hunger for Love" premiere will be my chance to use the French Scenes technique for storytelling taught by Don Doyle.

In September 2006, I met with him to work on the Greek epic "Hephaestus: Fire Within", which addressed child abuse at infant and adolescent stages and the results when Hephaestus became an adult.

Click here if you want to know what else I learned from Don Doyle.

Basic concept of French Scenes:
French Scenes are main events of the story that begin with one or more key characters enter the scene and ends when one or more key characters exit the scene. Between entrances and exits are developments to the story whether in understanding the environment, revealing character, and forwarding the plot.

French Scenes tend to be divided into 5 parts though I could have as many as 32+ parts for a complicated story.

While meeting with Holly Robison, my story buddy for "The Gardener's Wife", we pulled out the thesaurus as we brainstormed works for character feelings. Time flew by so we did not complete all the scenes for story. Even one of her daughters came to check our project out. (permission granted to post picture)

Here are the French Scenes so far for this Colombian story--
***Please note that the Gardener's Wife will simply be known as Wife.

Scene 1:
Enter Wife
Exit Husband

  • Inside house looking out to garden
  • Fall time for Colombia (or late summer)
  • Beautiful day--sun, blue sky, hear birds and breeze
  • Wife--longing, wishful, hopeful, happy/sad, bewildered at husband's view
  • Husband--happy, befuddled at the answer that his wife wants of him, preoccupied with work
***Both have feelings of love and playfulness
Moving Plot Forward--
  • Establish that the Wife and Husband are childless
Scene 2:
Enter Thoughts about the 3 Sisters
Exit with Triple Weddings

  • Garden--flowers will trigger memories about the village gossip
  • Same day as Scene 1--still beautiful day
  • Eventually memories transport from Garden to the Castle and Castle Grounds for weddings
  • Wife--reflecting on comical "story", eye to detail, honored
  • All Sisters--joking, playful, dreamy, hungry
  • 1st Sister--(oldest)--leader and turns jealous and resentful
  • 2nd Sister--(middle)--follows the oldest Sister but likes the 3rd Sister's answer best
  • 3rd Sister--(youngest)--has bigger vision and spoiled
Moving Plot Forward--
  • Explains vengeance of two older Sisters towards the youngest (leads to babies switched)
  • Emphasize indifference of the King
Scene 3:
Enter Pregnant 3rd Sister
Exit 1st Baby Boy

  • Castle and Castle Grounds with buzz by subjects of 1st born and turns to gasp/silence as discover the dog
  • 10 months later
  • Midwife Room
  • River
  • 3rd Sister (pregnant)--loud, in pain, sleep deprived
  • 1st Sister (leader of scheme)--even more jealous, conniving, vengeful, grumpy
  • 2nd Sister (follower of scheme)--same as 1st Sister except nervous, worried to get caught
  • King--unconcerned, indifferent
  • 1st Baby Boy--quiet otherwise people would not believe the dog was born in its place
Moving Plot Forward--
  • Strange reactions for Queen and King of baby "dog", though Queen feels like something is missing later on
  • Baby will arrive to the Wife and Husband so the audience will know to whom the Baby belongs
Scene 4:
Enter Wife and Husband
Exit Wife with 1st Baby Boy into Home

  • Outside at Garden near River
  • Beautiful day
  • Wife--grieving, longing, despair, hopeless (another 10 months childless), then turns to surprise, curious, joy, tenderness, love, celebration, praising, thankful, wonder
  • Husband--happy, confused, worries more of where Baby comes from, otherwise same as the Wife
  • 1st Baby Boy--loved, content, though ill from being tossed on the water, tired when hears lullaby until completely asleep
Moving Plot Forward--
  • 1st Baby Boy has Home

More scenes will be added in a future post.

Until we tell again,

Rachel Hedman
Professional Storyteller
Former Co-Chair of Youth, Educators, and Storytellers Alliance (2005-2008)
Tel: (801) 870-5799
Email: info@rachelhedman.com
Performance Blog: http://familyfamine.blogspot.com
Other places to find me: Twitter, YouTube, Facebook, LinkedIn, Professional Storyteller

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