~ By Sally J. Walker
From October 6 through October 31, I will be teaching an on-line course for RWA’s Contemporary Romance Writers Chapter titled “Scene-by-Scene Writing.” Though it truly is a fundamental approach to structuring the unfolding events or plot of any story, in the past I have also had experienced storytellers take the course to tweak and adjust their plotting process. Why? Such a microscopic examination of what NEEDS to happen results in a logical plot. The writer can see BOTH the forest AND the trees. The elements are easily identifiable. When the structure is so simply broken down, the writing flows much faster. The imagination gets in the habit of seeing plot events in this simplistic manner until it becomes natural habit and not painful second-guessing.
A recently in vogue term for one type of writer is “panster” for the seat-of-the-pants writer who never pre-plans either character or plot. This is in contrast to the “planner” who does character profiles and plot outlines. I have long been a “planner” although when I sit down to spew my daily page count I let my “panster” loose on the computer page. I have achieved a creative balance that makes me prolific enough to juggle several projects at one time (usually one novel and a couple of screenplays). I can do this efficiently and satisfactorily because I have incorporated the “Scene-by-Scene” concepts. They work. Because they work, I have created this course to teach HOW they work.
Certainly some people have resisted this kind of nearly obsessive structure. They claimed it confused and even subverted their creativity. Methinks these people were a bit resistive to change. The vast majority of people who have used the principles have repeatedly proclaimed that their stories easily flowing no matter how complex the plot gets! These risk-taking writers and their readers have ended up more satisfied . . . because the plot unfolds logically without extraneous side-trips. The truly insightful, THINKING writer works in control and with purpose rather than randomly “hoping” the day’s writing will be logical. Using this approach does not inhibit, but FREES the mind to possibility and choice. Another bonus is, when revising material spewed in an intense write-a-thon, the “holes” in logic are much easier to identify.
When we are so close to our stories, rarely do we see the problems. Our brain is ecstatic to just get words on paper. Frequently, that brain will slide right by what is missing with the mental assumption it is there. Analyzing a Scene (and its Sequel-bridge to the next Scene . . . as well as the break-away to a subplot) slows the writer down to look for the progressive beats of logic. Making the concepts part of your writing habits builds confidence and makes spewing a whole lot easier.
So, if you want to learn how to write fast through logic and feel your creative energy exploding with exciting possibility, come on down and take “Scene-by-Scene Writing.”
A Bit Extra
This course comes just in time for NaNo. How fortuitous. As a bonus, at the course’s midpoint, I will provide participants a file of daily prompts titled “A Novel in 30 days” that can march you through NaNo! So, this is a 2-for-1 deal!