Sunday, December 21, 2014

Writing into a Corner

Ever start writing a scene and feel like you're banging your head against a wall?  Or maybe you plow through that wall with sheer desire to write your scene, but when you go back and read it you find it to be lacking?

In my process, I think of these two instances as two sides of the same coin:  writing into a corner.

Having written into many corners, I have developed a mantra for thinking my way around the corner :  Let the scene be about what the scene is about.

Sounds obvious, right?  Well yeah, but that's why it works for me.

Sometimes I find myself getting really into the setting.  Perhaps a particular building or location really excites me.  Like Doug from the movie Up, a squirrel can take your attention away really quickly from the task at hand. When that happens it is easy to try to couch the purpose of the scene in terms of that particular thing that excites you in the moment.

That never works out for me.

Example:  The purpose of the scene is to show a necromancer unleashing a horror against a protagonist.  The scene also needs to introduce the necromancer's lair, which is an awesome place.  The lair must be developed in terms of the necromancer's actions.  If the necromancer's actions are developed in terms of the lair, the scene tends to lose coherence and I'm left unsatisfied. 

By rewriting the scene and couching everything in terms of the highest priority of the scene, I find that troublesome scenes tend to be easier to write and I like the result better as well.

Cheers, Merry Christmas, and Happy Holidays!

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