HOW TO KEEP YOUR MOMENTUM
What do we do! What’s next? Where do we go from here? Pete has just decided to dial 911. The reader is relieved. At least help is on the way. I mean, we have no idea what Pete’s father is doing. The “sequel” has been written.
Now we write another scene. Remember the three elements that we need? We need the goal, the conflict, and the disaster. And the key here is the keep the tension mounting. There are a lot of avenues that we could take, but let’s go with one of the obvious ones.
Here’s the goal.
Pete wants to make sure that the police handles the situation with his killer-of-a-dad.
That seems clear enough. Now comes the conflict.
Pete is panicking on the phone with the 911 dispatch, and they are having trouble hearing him. His voice is shaking, but they finally can get a police response unit to his location. Before he gets off the phone, a black SUV speeds into the driveway. Its lights are beaming right onto Pete. A man gets out, calls to Pete, and chases him down.
Whoa! Not what we wanted to happen to Pete. Just a few more minutes and the police would have arrived, but now we see that the conflict has escalated.
The next step is to write the disaster.
The man catches Pete, wrestles him to the ground, and drags him inside to his father. The man snatches the boy’s phone to see the person he called. He sees 911 in the call queue, and they rush Pete into the SUV.
See how these events compound onto one another to make more scenes. All this started because Pete wanted to see why his father abandoned him as a child. Now Pete is being carted off in an SUV just when he thought that the police were going to save him.
Think about your novel and how your scenes are crafted. Could it be beneficial to adopt Swain’s method into your own planning?