I wanted to pick up with my thoughts from my last post. Basically it revolved around how I’m really good at beginnings and how I should make that work for me in a way that leads to finally typing the words THE END on a novel.
With any goal that looks like an overwhelming journey into the abyss, I figure the breaking that goal up into smaller, manageable goals is the best idea. For instance, during the editing process, focusing on perfecting each individual sentence might be the goal.
For the drafting process I’m breaking it down to each goal for each chapter, and from there focusing on one scene at a time. At the end of the day, I think each scene should be a mini story in itself. Each scene should have a beginning, middle, and end. Each scene should have some character development, some backstory.
Shoot, each scene could have it’s own inciting incident, conflict, and resolution. Each scene is a layer of your story. Each scene needs a purpose. Then the total of those scenes needs to reach the goal of the chapter. The chapters summing up the entirety of your novel.
I feel like this strategy can work whether you are a planner or a pantser. If you plan, it’s just another step in your outline. If you’re a fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants(er) then I believe asking yourself the purpose of your scene can either be inspiration or the first step in your rewrite.
I’m somewhere in the middle. I definitely plan to a certain degree- usually my basic outline, but sometimes I’m just pantsing a subplot with no plan where it’s going. I’ve started projects with nothing but what I wanted the title to be, and vice versa.
I have found that in either scenario, thinking about the architecture of my scenes is not only inspirational, but it helps make certain each scene is purposeful. It makes sure each scene is interesting or exciting. Let’s face it, we’ve all edited out entire scenes before; scenes that we loved, but did not serve our purpose.
There are so many good stories I’ve read where I’ve skipped scenes because they weren’t really contributing to the story. They were boring. I skipped them and it didn’t impact my comprehension or involvement in the story. Think about it though, yes, titles are important, the beginning is important, but isn’t every single piece of your story important?
Don’t get lost in things that are unnecessary. If they are meant to be in your story, like that immense backstory you worked out in your head, then those pieces can be organically woven into the mini stories you’re sewing together.
Oh and don’t forget, mini stories are the perfect place for those cliffhangers!
Emma is an aspiring author writing about everything from fairytales to serial killers. She loves writing stories that explore human nature in a darkly humorous light. When she isn’t writing, she loves spending time with her family, and studying history. Otherwise you can find her beaching, watching movies, and plotting. Plotting books, not murders.
Well, sometimes murders.