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#FirstDraft60 Day 26: Writing Your Story Scene by Scene #amwriting #nanoprep #nanowrimo

Thursday, October 27, 2016

#FirstDraft60 | KayeDacus.comHow do you eat an elephant?
One bite at a time.

How do you write a novel?
One scene at a time.

Even for those of us who’ve been doing this for quite some time, it’s tempting when we approach our writing time to think: I’m going to write my novel. But just like with the elephant, if we’re focusing on the entire animal—the entire novel—when it’s time to sit down and write, we’re going to become overwhelmed, no matter how much we’ve planned ahead.

When you sit down to work on your story, don’t think about “writing the story,” think about “writing a scene.” If you don’t think about what you’re doing in terms of small chunks, then it’s going to be overwhelming and it’s the quickest path to writer’s block.

However, if you schedule your writing time in order to write a scene or two, you’re more likely to not feel overwhelmed and actually meet your daily writing goals.

Now, rather than try to repeat what I’ve written about scenes before, here’s the whole series:

SCENE IT!

To try to summarize, though . . .

  • Make sure each scene has a beginning, middle, and end.
  • End each scene with a hook/question—not only do you want to end a scene leaving your reader wanting more, you want to end a scene where you want to know what happens next—and then walk away. That way, you’re more anxious to get back to writing.
  • Try to mix up the ways in which you open and close your scenes.
  • Make sure your characters have an intention/desire/goal in each scene.
  • Make sure each scene moves the plot of your story forward.

For Discussion: What can you do in order to help yourself think about writing scene by scene rather than “writing your story” when it’s time to start writing?

How are you doing in the challenge? What have you learned about your story up to this point? What have you learned about yourself? Are you looking forward to starting to write next Tuesday? Do you still have anything you need to catch up with?

3 Comments leave one →
  1. Shirley Taylor permalink
    Thursday, October 27, 2016 3:00 pm

    I was thinking of doing this in a “chapter by chapter” mode so as not to overwhelm but this is even better as there will very likely be two scenes per chapter at the least…especially at first.
    I think referring to my mind map and outline will help me think of what I want/need to write. I want to try to write in order as much as possible by I’m going to write out of order whenever I feel like I’m struggling with the scene I sat down to write and then I’ll write whichever scene calls out to me.
    This challenge has helped me immensely! When I first decided I wanted to do NaNo this year and wanted to spend October prepping I wasn’t really sure to start except I knew I wanted to rework my story and start fresh with the same basic premise. This helped me feel “on track” every day, even when I got a bit behind I knew where I stood etc.
    I did stumble a bit when we first started doing character development because I’ve always known my plot more before I did that and I think the result (and partly why I was never successful at finishing a draft) was that I was trying to stuff characters where they didn’t fit so they fought tooth and nail with me. Working on characters first actually had my characters speaking to me and telling me their story – I’m just their ghost writer now. lol This is great though because it means i know much more and I feel like I’m going to stumble less and not be able to use “writer’s block” as an excuse now. 😀
    I feel pretty confident going into this challenge even though I’m still playing some catch up with a few assignments and doing a bit of refresher research now. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Sunday, October 30, 2016 4:56 pm

    What can you do in order to help yourself think about writing scene by scene rather than “writing your story” when it’s time to start writing?

    I really don’t think about the scenes until I’m revising. I think in terms of events. I know 18 events that must happen in the story and I know I’ll have several surprise events pop up during this process.

    How are you doing in the challenge? What have you learned about your story up to this point? What have you learned about yourself? Are you looking forward to starting to write next Tuesday? Do you still have anything you need to catch up with?

    I’ve never prepped this much for Nano. I generally start with the main characters and thoughts about where the beginning and end were. I have “won” 3 times with this little prep, but I’ve also not completed Nano many more times when I haven’t done even that much of the prep. I hope I can be just as successful this time with all the prep I’ve done. I’m super excited about writing Monday night/Tuesday morning. I have a resident in my building that is also doing Nano so we’re going to support each other and do several write-ins in the lobby and hallway outside her room. We’re actually planning on writing for about an hour when the Halloween party ends at midnight at Monday night/Tuesday morning. My catching up is just your posts after this one, Kaye. I’m feeling good right now.

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  1. #FirstDraft60 Day 21: Saturday Catch-Up & Review Day #amwriting #nanoprep #nanowrimo | KayeDacus.com

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