Monday, March 17, 2014

Scene Sudoku

I think many of us can agree that when writing a first draft, there are some scenes we’re more excited about than others: The scenes that inspired the story to begin with – The ones that hold a lot of tension or introduce our favorite character, have a shocking revelation or relationship game-changer. Scenes that are funny and full of life or have a setting you just want to wade around in and soak up for awhile.

Sometimes the perfect scene will just fall neatly into your lap; one that combines everything you love about the book, and preforms its allotted task. And other times you have to go at it from different angles before it fits into the fold like a missing piece of a puzzle.

My two least favorites scene situations are:

The ‘you know what needs to happen. You’re just not sure how it should happen’. These are the scenes you really have to think about. Brainstorm about. Because not only do they need to be functional but they also have to function; i.e.- they need to work with the story and not feel like they’re there mainly to get us where we need to go. It’s a complicated balance.

Then there’s the ‘you know how things need to happen, but you’re not sure how to make them important.’ These are the scenes that are in the consequential order of things, but lack function. They are there because they make sense and yet they don’t really add anything to the plot. So now you have to try and give them a purpose.

*sigh*

I’m currently about to enter one of the natural-order-of-things scenes and I think I’ve found a way to give it purpose by bumping up the introduction to a very important character. 

Needless to say, my brain hurts.


What are your Scene Sudoku methods? Do you write a ‘place holder’ so you can keep going until you come up with the perfect situation? Or does your word count come to a grinding halt until you’ve found ‘the scene’? Any other difficult scene situations you can think of?

13 comments:

Laura Pauling said...

I don't use place holders. Mostly because I'd rather have something to work with when i return to it. I'd rather tackle that hard chapter and move on. :) Good luck!

SA Larsenッ said...

Ooh, your second one is really good. Hmm... Honestly, I think hair-pulling is the way I hammer it out. Not my own hair, of course. ;)

Laura Marcella said...

When a difficult scene is in the way, I write something else that's flowing better. Usually that gets me going and I can come back to the scene ready to tackle the problem.

Good luck with your scenes!

Happy reading and writing! from Laura Marcella @ Wavy Lines

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

That's probably why I plan the heck out of my manuscripts before I ever start writing. Once I begin, I just plow through. Even the scenes where I'm not sure how it's going to happen.

Natalie Aguirre said...

Sometimes I write those great scenes that just don't move the plot along. I finally have accepted some of them must be cut. But keeping in mind that the scene has to move the story and not just introduce a character without anything interesting isn't enough.

Vicki Rocho said...

I limp through it enough that I feel the continuity is there and promise myself to go back later and spice it up.

I hate when I know what needs to happen but have too many ideas on HOW to make it happen -- and they're all mutually exclusive, of course. Decisions are not my strong suit!

Jane Jazz said...

I can sympathise when you say your brain hurts, that's what my brain is doing right now! Really interesting to read other people's methods... I tend to grit my teeth and wrestle with the scene until it submits!

Stina Lindenblatt said...

I don't use place holders. Usually if I get stuck, I go for a run. Works. Every. Time. (Or I go for a walk if I've already ran that day).

Dianne K. Salerni said...

"The ‘you know what needs to happen. You’re just not sure how it should happen’."

Those are the worst ones for me. My method is just to plug on through the draft and trust I'll figure it out when I get there.

Like in my current WIP, which you've read, I had no idea how to make the climax work. The necessary actions of one protagonist were going to interfere with the necessary actions of the other one. Finally, it occurred to me to put the two POV characters in separate locations and switch back and forth between them in quick succession.

Cynthia Lee said...

I pants all my stuff so I never know what's going to happen in nearly every scene. It's fun but also a huge pain in the ass. For some reason, I have an idea how I want the book to end but that's all, no beginning or middle.

I tried outlining but that didn't work.

It's kind of a dumb way to write books so I don't necessarily recommend it. It involves a lot of rewriting.

Old Kitty said...

Scene that plays nicely in my head like a movie but when I begin to write it turns to kaka! LOL!

GOOD LUCK with your natural order of scenes writing!! Hope the brain is ok! :-) Take care
x

D.G. Hudson said...

Scenes are my favorite thing to write, and will usually be written first. I find narrative hard. And yes, I use placeholders if I can't write it when in the firt draft process. Anything that makes revisions easier also speeds up the process a bit.

mshatch said...

Wow. I know exactly what you're talking about. I used to come to a grinding halt a lot but I've come to see the value in summing up and coming back to it later.

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