Friday, August 10, 2007

Writing the Tough Scenes


Despite being at my laptop for more than three hours last night, I only ended up writing one scene. I wrote a few paragraphs, then realized that wasn't what I was trying to convey, then wrote a few more. Those inevitably were devoured by the delete button, and on and on the process went.

This was a pivotal scene. All the elements needed to be exactly right. And the only way I was going to get it right was to write it over and over again. So I did.

When I finally shut off the laptop last night - somewhere after 11 p.m. - I was quite satisfied with my work. Sure, it took me awhile. But such important scenes deserve more of our attention. If we don't get it right, then the rest of the story will collapse around it. Think of pivotal scenes - the black moment or a character revelation or a revealing plot point - as the steel beams in your novel. If they're not strong, the rest of the story will be rather flimsy.

When was the last time you tackled a particularly tough scene? How did you get through it?

6 comments:

  1. It is so cool to see insight into how others work out their writer's kinks. I'm just like you. I've spent hours tweaking a 2 page scene until I felt it was right. It is only when I look back at it later that I realize that it was a pivotal scene which was why I wrestled so hard and mightily over it.

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  2. I write it and then let it sit and come back fresh a day or two later and then repeat the process as many times as needed.

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  3. I remember once being daunted by a party scene, where there would be much going on and a lot of characters involved. I ended up writing it from several points of view, then taking the best bits. It was the only way I felt like I could get the sense of action I wanted.

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  4. I haven't dealt with it in an efffective way yet.

    The ones I have written, I just pushed out of my mind that they were important scenes and just wrote them and went back and edited them weeks later.

    The one big one I have...is just a blank peice of paper right now. My plan is to sit down and try to write it every day and in the meantime read other books that have similar scenes and similar situations and learn from the masters.

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  5. It seems I'm ALWAYS working on a tough scene that needs to be slapped around and reworked.
    Oh, wait, it's not the scene that's really the problem, is it? It's me, the author who's writing it!!!!

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  6. That Snoopy comic made me laugh so hard I teared up!

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