Friday, June 17, 2011

Making your scenes multitask!

This is probably writing 101, but when I figured it out it changed how I wrote scenes and chapters.

You know those scenes that you LOVE—the ones that are your babies—the ones full of descriptive details—the ones that go nowhere? The ones you KNOW must be fixed, but you can’t figure out how.

This was my epiphany: Make my scenes multitask!

When I am writing a scene I try and make it do three things. It doesn’t matter what those things are, but it must be at least three. If my scene only does one thing I know I need to work on it. Here is my list:

  • Develop the plot
  • Reveal back-story
  • Develop a character
  • Pose a question
  • Answer a question
  • World building
  • Raise the stakes
  • Foreshadow an event
  • Up the tension
  • Explore a theme
  • Set the mood
  • Achieve a goal
  • Discover something important

I was flabbergasted when I found a post on this exact thing on Janice Hardy’s blog—she does such a fantastic job of going into great detail, everyone really should check it out! If I’m not the only one thinking this, maybe it is a universal writing truth :)

- Angie


Ruth said...

Even if it is a universal truth, I'm sure it's something we all forget when we're off on our tangents of creation. I love having visual reminders, because I'm an out of sight out of mind kind of gal, so this list would be great to tape up next to the computer.

Angie Cothran said...

Ruth: That is a great idea! I'm a visual gal too :)

Small Town Shelly Brown said...

That is great stuff. You're right that scenes can just fall flat when they aren't well layered.
But until you posted it, I hadn't really thought about it that way.
Thanks :)

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