Thursday, August 13, 2009

Writing ER

Yesterday I sat down to read the next few scenes for my rewrite.

They stunk.

To be honest, the scenes weren't as stinky as the writing. I must have been ten when I wrote them.

To be even more honest, amateur writing aside, the scenes were still pretty horrible. {heavy sigh}

Enter Grand Intervention in the form of The Fire In Fiction by Donald Maass. I'm reading a little bit every day while I eat lunch. Feeding two needs at once. Yesterday, I was a wee bit unhappy as I sat at the table and opened Fire at my bookmark. I read:

Authors, as they plow through the middle portion of their manuscripts, tend to write what they think ought to come next; furthermore, they write it in the first way it occurs to them to do so. In successive drafts such scenes tend to stay in place, little altered. Unsure what to do, an author may leave a scene in place because . . . well, just because.

And then:

To re-envision a scene, look away from the page and look toward what is really happening. What change takes place? When does that change occur (at what precise second in the scene)? In that moment, how is the point-of-view character changed? The point of those questions is to find the scenes' turning points (note the plural).

And I'll leave you with:

To put it plainly, scenes work best when they have both outer and inner turning points.

Thanks to a bit of direction by Donald Maass, I was able to fix one scene yesterday. Today, I plan on writing a new scene for a sub-plot and then move on to perform additional surgery on the next couple of seriously ill sections.

The Doctor is in.

CR: Love & Respect by Emerson Eggerichs.

It's all better with friends.


  1. Hmm. I think I'll try applying that to my textnovel entry. I've always written middle scenes before the start before, but I think writing forwards might be causing my middle to suffer too. I'm almost scared to look.

  2. Sheila, you're scaring me. And I barely understood what you said. lol.

    This new book of Maass's is as least as good as his last one.

    Or maybe it's one of those cases where the teacher showing up when, at long last, the recalcitrant student is ready.