One of the toughest things to do when writing is linking scenes. And since scenes are the building blocks for a novel, this topic cannot be overlooked.
Think of it this way. What if you were at a circus watching a trapeze artist soaring high in the sky, catching one trapeze and swinging to the next. You’re mesmerized as long as it’s smooth – more focused on the feat of the swinging rather than the chance that she’ll fall. But, if this trapeze artist swings and falters, catching onto the next trapeze and wobbling, we gasp! Continue reading →
The most well-known villain type is the “evil for evil’s sake” bad guy. This villain has no motives for his evil. He wants to rule the world, and he wants to enslave all its inhabitants.
This type of antag is comical if you take him to his logical end because the question always arises, “What are you going to do if you do enslave the world?” That said, it doesn’t matter what’s next. The important thing is what’s happening right now.
The evil villain is seen most in epic fantasies since everyone knows that evil is bad. Of course we know of the Sith Lord, Darth Sideous from Star Wars. There’s Darken Rahl from The Sword of Truth. The list goes on with these scumbags. Continue reading →
We have all heard of writer’s block, but what is writer’s freeze? Let me begin by expressing the difference between the two. WB is the inability (assumed or not) to write due to a lack of ideas.
Writer’s freeze is different. It’s a term that I stumbled upon in my own writing as I’ve been hacking and slashing my way through this trilogy. WF is the condition where there are plenty of ideas. But here I am, writing this third book, and I am nervous about which ideas to choose. Continue reading →
Let’s start the week off with a BANG! I don’t know about you, but wasn’t that the longest weekend in forever? One thing is for sure, it was hot as fire here in North Carolina, but I know that in other places it had to be as cold as ice.
Clichés, like the ones above, are weak, and whenever they are used, they skip off your reader’s brain like a stone on a lake. They never, ever, ever portray what you want.
We’ve all read the importance of creating tension. In fact, if you’ve kept up with my blog for a while, then you probably have heard me mention it a time or twenty. But Swain discusses something he calls MRUs or Motivation-Reaction Units.
These MRUs are another link that has greatly improved my writing style. It’s the idea that every moment has to be a moment of tension, ideally. Now I’m going to renege on that. Of course we don’t always want tension, but we do always want our readers to be able to feel what our characters are feeling.
Last week you may have been confused with the talk of scenes and sequels. Frankly, the idea originated from Swain, but still, he uses terms that we are familiar with, like scenes and sequels, and redefines them; thus, he makes it all too confusing.
Here’s a brief break down. Scenes have 3 elements: a goal, a conflict, and a disaster. Your character must experience these three things in a scene. In a sequel, the character must process what just happened. Sequels also have 3 elements: a reaction, a dilemma, and a decision.
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.
The page has turned. Pete, from yesterday’s post, is gripping the windowsill, watching in horror as his father drags away the lifeless corpse of a deceased man. Now what? What we just wrote was the scene in SCENE-IT.
Now we’re going to write what Swain refers to as the sequel. It’s the follow-up moment or scene. I disagree with swain in that this “sequel” must be a few lines. I have written “sequels” that have been several pages long. But what is a sequel? Continue reading →
Scenes are the building blocks of a novel. We know that. They are the very things that push our work forward. But what elements comprise a scene? This is a tougher question. The simple answer is this: a series of events. But what do those events have in common?
Dwight Swain describes scenes in terms of scenes and sequels. This fundamental idea of writing has changed my style for the better. Planning has become simpler. Also, seeing my scenes as units that progress the story forward have become clearer.
The last post we talked about how to use the premise to impact the conflict. Now we want to use the premise to impact the climax.
What’s the difference? The conflict relates to your day-to-day activities, but your climax is your paycheck — the very reason you get up to go to work in the first place. What happens if one friday your boss comes to you and says: “Sorry, I can’t pay you this month”? Continue reading →