Getting that Scene/Chapter Right
Some can write from A to B with ease. Some can write without focusing on when a chapter begins or ends. Some can write because they can picture every footstep and gesture before it’s even occurred.
Or, I can . . . but not with ease.
I have a saying of Think Less – Write More that’s based on writing your words without contemplating on every formatting, grammatical nuance or whether the paragraphs, dialogue fits or if the spelling is ultra incorrect. Nope – just write the damn words – and worry about your mismatched errors later during the redraft.
BUT – I do Think before I Think Less – Write More . . . (Head-scratch moment)
At the point that I am one with the keyboard and my fingers meld to the buttons, and the orchestra of tapping begins, I am in full TL-WM mode. Make no query that I’m like a Yeti with fresh snow.
However, prior to writing, I plan like crazy. Usually these moments happen during a break at work, in the car, whilst I’m walking to the shops or just lying in bed. Note: I try to plan in advance of my writing time, because I don’t want to sacrifice that precious time.
Playing out the scene in my head helps me to know where the characters are, who does what, and where they end up. The end up bit is massively important. I live for cliff-hangers and hooks. I need to know that each chapter contains a hook to push the reader to continue. Nothing grates me more than when a character falls asleep at the end of a chapter without a real humbug moment bugging them.
Also with the planning, I bullet-point the key aspects of the scene/chapter. It’s all about what must happen, or needs to happen to propel the novel. Think back to chemistry where certain components must be in place for a reaction. As I bob my head over the bullet-points I spot aspects that are time-passes and add nothing to the scene. Kill them off.
By the time I get to writing, I have a scribbled piece of paper with lines linking bullet-points, and usually there are 6-10. That becomes my template of what to put in. There’s nothing worse than knowing the theory behind the chapter but not knowing the detail.
Everyone is different, but with a little planning, you can nail the hooks and why that blasted chapter/scene ever happened in the first place.
You will never find my characters making a pot of tea, sitting in a café, visiting the loo, or checking their receipts, unless it’s pivotal to drive the novel.
Do you get me?