Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Fixing A Languishing Scene

Because I'm in the middle of revisions for SHADOWING FATE and need to spend the bulk of my writing time there, todays Writing Process post will be short, sweet, and hopefully helpful. =)

Sometimes, I sit down to write a scene and everything just falls into place. The dialogue sparks naturally, the conflict leaps off the page, and I know exactly what happens next.

Sometimes, I sit down to write a scene and the words move sluggishly or refuse to come at all. Those are the scenes that I return to later and, upon re-reading, realize I've just written the equivalent of vanilla frozen yogurt - bland and pointless.

Here's a trick to fix that scenario:

1. Every scene must advance the conflict(s) in your novel. No fillers, please.

2. Within the scene, each character needs to have an individual goal. Doesn't have to be lofty. Maybe your hero wants to win an argument. Maybe your secondary character needs to get to work on time. Doesn't matter. What matters is that every character in the scene has their own personal goal, driving their actions and dialogue.

3. When the scene feels like you're slogging through mud, do a goal check. Does the scene advance your conflict or are you getting sloppy and shoving something in just to provide an info dump on your poor, unsuspecting reader? Do each of your scene's character's have a definable goal within the scene? If not, figure out what their goals are and re-write the scene with those in mind.

That's it. Short, sweet, and hopefully helpful, as promised. Off to finish creating mayhem on a page.

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