Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Wizardry Writing Wednesday #13 by Wizard Lexiconi -

Welcome back young scribes and toads. (Oh, and yes you dragons and trolls, as well.) 

I assume you have had ample time to come up with your story ideas. Whether short or long, every story must have a "stand-out" character. Nobody wants to read about how your dog slept all day, or how a mouse ran in his spinning wheel for an hour straight. Those characters must have a distinct personality and more important, they must have a problem to face and overcome. 

Once you have your character developed, now you will need to focus on your plot.  Check back over previous post to learn more on this topic. 

So, I will also assume that you have somewhat planned out your story. Listen up: NOT EVERYONE is good at plotting out a story. Plotting kills their inspiration. It's like opening the last few pages of a book or being told how a story ends. The thrill of discovery is gone and they can't write another word on it. 

If you are a "seat-of-the-pants" writer, then you will want to keep in mind the general direction that your story will take and a possibility on how it will end. 

This week, we will talk more about scenes. 
A scene is a small part of the over all story. Picture a scene in The Wizard of Oz, where Dorthy decides she will run away to protect her dog Toto. The scene starts with her crying on her bed. Toto returns. Then Dorthy is so glad to see him, but knows that hateful woman will come back for them if she doesn't do something. So Dorthy makes a choice and then we are taken into the next scene. 

Every scene has a motivator. This is something that happens that forces your characters to react. 

So, put simply, every scene in a story should contain a motivator and reaction. And each scene must make your story move forward.

Keeping this in mind will  help you as the writer to keep from putting in unnecessary scenes. If there is no motivator and no forced reaction from the character which moves the story forward, then you have done nothing more than create an information dump. 

Get rid of those. They make a story drag and cause readers to close your book. 

Look at your favorite books and try to mark where a scene begins and where it ends. Sometimes a scene is a whole chapter. Sometimes it's just a few paragraphs. 

This will help you to be able to see your own story in smaller scenes and will help you write tighter prose. 

Until next week--
Happy Writing, friends.
Let your imagination weave some wacky tales.
Wiz. Lexiconi, Sr. Mage 1st class: Fabulist extraordinaire.


Jenny Sulpizio said...

Love this post, Jackie. I think setting the scene for the reader can be really tricky. You want to be detailed, but not too detailed. You want to provide the reader with the opportunity to imagine-balance between describing too much is a delicate one for sure.

Great post!

Julie Hedlund said...

Great post! Every scene is like a mini-book.

Jackie Castle said...

You are exactly right, Jenny. And each scene needs to have a purpose. It either needs to move the plot forward, or show something important about your characters.

Jackie Castle said...

Thanks Julie. When I'm writing a book, sometimes snippets of scenes will come to me. So I write down those thoughts on a note card and put them into one of those small card files, like for recipe cards. It keeps my mind free to continue brainstorming, I don't lose those possibly great scenes, and eventually, I organize them into a complete story and this makes the writing process much easier.

Lee Wind, M.Ed. said...

Fun - I liked your breakdown of what happens in a scene. And thanks as well for participating in the 2012 Comment Challenge!