Rewrite? Scene Templates


Rewrite?  Scene Templates

Or, Painting By Number

Read about using South Park’s BUT — THEREFORE to arrange scenes.

True confession time.I wrote the entirety of my first serious WIP, all 84 scenes, with no clear idea how to structure a scene.

That said, I wasn’t completely helpless. I’d read Jack Bickham’s excellent Scene and Structure, where he’d coached me in the 4P’s of a scene opening, the back-and-forth between the POV character and the scene antagonist, and the POV character’s eventual defeat.

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Rewrite? Corralling BUT and THEREFORE


Rewrite?  Corralling BUT and THEREFORE

Holding The Top Level Story Together

Read about the South Park method for linking scenes together.

In a prior post I introduced the South Park method of linking ideas together using BUT and THEREFORE, before using AND THEN to transform events into scenes. And, along the way, we invented Star and Rocky, two cats, and a moment in time with the Wu family.

So, let’s look at several discarded scenes and my application of South Park’s method. Below is a list of events, with either BUT or THEREFORE added:

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Rewrite? BUT and THEREFORE


Rewrite?  BUT and THEREFORE

Relearning Something I Already Knew

Read about what happened when I rewrote the first story in the series.

So, what constitutes a story?

There’s a famous quote from John le Carre.

“The cat sat on the mat is not a story. The cat sat on the other cat’s mat is a story.”

Something popped into your head, right? Maybe something happened before this. Or, something happens later.

Guess what?

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Rewrite? Check That Box


Rewrite?  Check That Box

Starting Over…Sort Of

Read about how wrong I got things on my series.

First story in the series rewritten…four weeks.

I’m trying for 40,000 words. And the first draft came in at 47,840.


Alas, I have too little experience to gaze into a crystal ball and understand if that’s close to the final number.

I need look no further than the second story’s growth from a planned 16,000 words: 22799 —> 35885 —> 42797.

And look at those changes! The first (filling plot holes and scene structure) added almost 60%, and the second (adding characterization and dialog) tossed in another 20%.

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Wow…Did I Get It Wrong?


Wow…Did I Get It Wrong?

The Realization Of A Foolish Writer

Read about my Trusted Reader and the second Grimn’s Tale.

What does this have to do with writing an eight story series of 12,000 word novelettes?


How does a newbie write a series?  Write one, publish, and move on to the next? Or, write them all, revising the series where needed, and pushing them out together?

When I started, I rashly assumed I had sufficient command of the craft in general, and story structure in particular, that I could write, revise and edit a novelette every three months, finishing the series in two years. But I struggled with the first story’s word count, eventually settling for 15,000 words. Chastened, I wrote the second, hitting the word count problem again, eventually going to a longer form to finish with 42,000 words. Continue reading


Then The Second Shoe


Then The Second Shoe

My Trusted Reader Finished the Second Tale

Read about my Trusted Reader and the first Grimn’s Tale.

My poor Trusted Reader.

I so distressed her she may never read another rough story.

She wasn’t thrilled about the second story, either. After coaxing her out of her shell, we went back-and-forth over things bothering her. Truth to tell, she put her finger on several things I wasn’t sure about. And…though I’m unhappy I failed in so many ways, a million ideas on how to fix the problems have already popped into my mind.

We also chit-chatted about the first story in the series. Again, after continually reassuring her I wouldn’t bite her head off, we talked through some things I might do. For instance, she found descriptions of University life ringing true…not that I have much experience with Medieval Europe, or Universities. And I should take advantage of this stroke of luck. As to the second story, set in tunnels and caves, maybe I need to revisit a deep one and refresh my impressions.

Another topic involves HIM and HER. I want readers wondering whether they will or won’t. In my present plan, they don’t. But I need to better lay out that arc, and let it unfold slowly. And this begins with the first story.

Without boring everyone with my soul-searching, I realize that trying to pattern this series like a collection of TV episodes hampered me, forcing me into a quick-quick-bang-bang approach. And, at the moment, I possess insufficient skills for that.

So, I need to focus on a series arc, something I’d lost sight of. And I’m changing my focus to write short novels, hopefully in the 40,000 – 50,000 range.

But, which story do I fix first? The second story remains fresh in my mind but relies heavily on events in the first. And, to save the first, and raise it to a short novel size, I must add, while reusing original material where possible. In the interests of procrastination, I will spend this week exploring first story plot lines.

If you have any thoughts, feel free to drop a comment.

Happy writing.


Read about my thoughts after a test rewrite of the first story’s opening.



The First Shoe Dropped


The First Shoe Dropped

My Trusted Reader Read the First Tale

Read about finishing the second Grimn’s Tale.


My Trusted Reader read the first of Grimn’s Tales, supposedly an eight story set.


She thought my blurb too long, disliked my MC’s picture on the cover, and could not tell if I’d actually changed anything in the six months of last seeing it.

So…don’t get used to the picture over there.  I’ll be in the market for a different picture, someone more masculine.

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