Saturday, July 18, 2009

Blocking out the Scene

Serena had an interesting post yesterday about choreographing sex into a scene so that it drew you in emotionally instead of focusing on where the noses go. Of course as writers we have to know that the noses are placed logically so no one is distracted from our wonderful scene.

This principle works for all of the scenes in your book. First, determine your setting. Where is the scene going to take place. Whether you're in the bedroom or hiding out in ruined temple, block out how the room or the jungle or wherever you place your characters, looks like. You can write it out or draw it but have some kind of visual.

What needs to happen in this scene? What single act are you trying to convey? If it's an action packed scene where your hero and heroine are running for their lives chances are there's going to be more physical action than dialogue between your character's. But this could be a place for information about what one of your character's is thinking. If your scene takes place after they've reached their destination, what information do you need the reader to know and how can you convey it without making it an information dump. What logical reaction would either of them have?

Who will be in this scene and which character's POV will be used? Who needs to be acting/ reacting at this point? If the previous scene was conveyed in the heroine's POV you may want to have the hero's reaction in the this scene, which technically, might be a sequel.

What mood are you trying to convey? How would your character's, as you've set them up, behave in the situation you've put them in? And are you conveying that situation through your character's actions and dialogue?

What or who is trying to keep your character's from getting what they want? Even if they aren't physically in the scene they're adding to the conflict and how your character's behave.

What new information or question is raised? What's going to be your connecting hook for the next scene or sequel? This is what sets up your next scene and makes the reader want to know more. And then of course, you get to start all over again.

After you have all of your information down, write your scene. It sounds time-consuming but the first time I used this method was the first time I wrote one-hundred thousand words in under a year. Blocking out your scenes may save you time in the long run for the simple reason that it helps to keep your story on track. I know it works for me.

Do you think this method might work for you? Or do you think planning interferes with your creativity?

Happy writing,


Serena Shay said...

Cool method, Paris! One I'll definitely give a try. :) I love trying new processes, I find I tend to take bits and pieces from everywhere.

As for how I do it, well I seem to be a storyboarder for the skeleton story, then a seat of my pantser for the emotional rough draft then a technical writer for the first edit...LOL it sounds like a lot, but for now it seems to work. :)

Great post! Have a great weekend!

Paris said...

I love finding out different methods! Hey, whatever works, I say go for it! Thanks, and have a wonderful weekend, yourself.!

Rick said...

Man I really hope I get that organized sometime


Paris said...

This is just one method, you can streamline it or pick one thing and see if that leads you to something else! Hey, the journey of a thousand miles starts with one step. Give it a whirl;-)

Sandy said...


I do a mixture of both. There have been some stories I've written that have been so convoluted that I wrote and outline. Lots of times, I start out as a pantster, and then get to a spot where I have to have start an outline before I can go any farther.

Good post.

Marianne Stephens said...

Great post. I too think of the setting and how it affects the scene. Fireplace in the background to warm up the heat level? Outside in the snow, chilly but talking about heating themselves up later?
Think seriously about turing your blog into a workshop program for our chapter!


Paris said...

I guess the scene by scene method is my outline. But I totally get the panster thing if I've just got the opening set up and nothing else. You never know how your creativity will be sparked! Thanks for stopping by!

Paris said...

Thanks! Oh, we are so on the same page!I really hadn't thought about a workshop program--until you mentioned it but it is something I'll think about! Really good to "see" you!

Savanna Kougar said...

Hi Paris, it would depend on my story. However, if I come to the point where I need a specific visual of the room, building, place, space ship ~ I may do some deeper research, then I'll block out how it looks in my mind and/or write it out at the bottom of my story where I can refer to it.

Fran Lee Romance said...

Plan ahead? Spell that, please! OMG! Is that what I'm doing wrong? Um...I don't even plan my characters ahead. I just sit down and start writing. :p

Paris said...

Savanna, that sounds like a very sound plan! Thanks for lending your insight today;-) Always appreciated!

Paris said...

Fran, don't mess with a plan that works, LOL!Just keep doing what you've been doing!