Thursday, December 13, 2012

Create the Best Scene to Propel Your Plot and Reveal Your Characters

Revise scenes to enhance the story
Actor Jack Nicholson often offers directors more than one version of a scene. Why? Besides the fact that he's an outside-the-box thinker, Nicholson's rationale for doing a scene more than one way is, simply, choice — to provide the best scene for the story. Writers can benefit from the same approach.

If you're writing a story whose plot lacks forward momentum, or have created a character that isn't fully realized, try this technique:
  • Start with a blank page, and write a completely new scene, without considering for the moment whether it meshes with the rest of the story.
  • Put the scene aside for a day or two, then repeat the process.
  • Wait another day or so, then compare the three scenes the original and the two new options.
Now ask yourself these questions:
  • What does each scene reveal about your character(s)?
  • How would each choice affect the story as a whole?
  • Which option works best, or feels most real? Why?
  • If you're fairly far along in the story, don't start over.
Simply note what will need to change as the thoughts come to mind, and continue writing based on what you know now. You can use what you've learned to inform Draft 2 during the revision process.

What story are you working on that could use a fresh direction?

Happy writing!

For more tips, visit Word for Words, or visit Adele's blog.