I found it hugely useful this week to read Jody Hedlund’s blog post on writing scenes. I’m at the stage where I have a draft which is not yet a first draft but is inching towards that status. I try to write a first version and not worry about it being imperfect but this then means stage two of redrafting, rejigging and rewriting. I’m trying to assess what my work in progress scene by scene so, as well as working on the details of the writing, I’m also taking a step back and looking at the scene as a whole. The ultimate goal is to have each one as an action-packed emotionally-charged, entertaining brick of fun that builds up a whole novel. Not asking too much then….
- Is it fun and funny and moving? This is appropriate for my current WIP but will change depending on genre.
- Does it read like writing? I know when my prose sinks, sloppy sentences, incomplete rhythm…all these need to be weeded out.
- Where is the emotional impact of the scene? I try to make sure it is well signposted and written for maximum effect. Details of setting or character can contribute unobtrusively too.
- Can I show not tell? Check for patches of telling and check there isn’t a better way.
- Do my characters make the most of their time centre stage? What can I add to reveal more depth in passing? Deepen relationships?
- Are there any symbols? I loved the section in this book about symbols (or “sacred objects” as they call them) that recur through a novel. So it’s worth checking they are being presented in a meaningful – although possibly unobtrusive) way in any scene where they occur.