Anybody that has read my work knows that most of my blogs spin off of my own weaknesses. And there are many. I figure if I’m having problems with a certain aspect of writing, there are probably many others who are too.
So today I thought I would focus on writing scenes. As you may have guessed, I was shredded to pieces in a critique, and rightfully so.
I presented a 3000 word excerpt from my novel for review, I did say 3000 words, and a friendly critic (she really was nice), pointed out that I had managed to squeeze 10 different locations/scenes into those 3000 words. It was overwhelming, and the scenes were like flybys.
I have a very complicated novel, with many twists and turns, which could be a good thing. But, in my haste to get through them all, I failed to provide a cohesive story, and many of my scenes were lacking.
So how did I correct my mistakes? I put together a scene and a sequel. They work together to form one cohesive scene. A scene leads naturally to a sequel. At some point, you will end the cycle. The POV character will either succeed or fail. I would opt for succeed:-)
Scenes are as follows:
- Goal- What the POV person wants at the beginning of the scene. It must be specific and clearly definable.
- Conflict- The series of obstacles your POV character faces on the way to reaching their Goal. There has to be conflict or your reader will be bored.
- Disaster- Is a failure of you POV person to reach his goal. This is a good thing in writing. Hold off on success until the very end. If you allow your POV to reach his goal to early, then your reader has no reason to go on.
***All three of these are critical to make the scene successful.***
Sequels are as follows:
- Reactions- Is there emotional follow through to a disaster. Show your POV acting viscerally to his disaster, but remember he can’t stay there. He has to get a grip.
- Dilemma- A situation with no good options. A real dilemma gives your reader a chance to worry. That’s good, you want them emotionally involved. At the end let your POV choose the least of the bad options.
- Decision- Your POV has to make a choice. This lets your POV become proactive again. People who never make decisions are boring.
Hope this helped. I pulled most of my information off of the ‘advancedfictionwriting’ web site, that’s hosted by Randy Ingermanson-“the snowflake Guy”. He provides some great information for writers of all levels. You should check him out.
Something to think about.