How Does Your WIP Grow?
How I Write Scenes
Dialog that won’t get to the point?
Scenes taking too long for something to happen?
That was me.
I’m sixteen scenes into my WIP. I finally found a way to write them.
Is it hard? Not once I get started.
Do I have to do some planning? Yippers.
So, how do I do it?
First of all, I outline my stories. Does that make me a plotter vs a panster? More or less. (In case you didn’t know those are terms thrown around by the community, and are not complimentary. A plotter is someone who outlines before they write. A panster writes without an outline.)
Both approaches are interesting. When I write Micro Fiction (stories in one hundred words), I pants. When I write longer stories, I become a plotter. Otherwise, I have no idea where the story will go.
I used Incident Designs to create my outlines. Click here to read about Incident Designs.
In my WIP, I captured the back-story and story in 34 incidents. After I had the story, I build Incidents for the Main Character and her villain / love interest. Then I built some more incidents for three important characters. By then, I knew I needed five more bigger than minor characters (characters that might be POV’s in a scene, so I needed character arcs for them), so I built Incidents for them. Together, they capture the entirety of the story I intend to tell.
Now, what does this have to with writing a scene?
I build my scenes in layers.
Layer One: Write out the applicable Story Incident, or Incidents. Write out the Character Incidents for each of the ten significant characters who will be part of the scene. It is easiest when there are only two. It is more challenging when there are three or more.
Layer Two: Fill in the following:
Story Incident Description
(P) POV_____________, with goal _________
(A) Antagonist_______, with goal _________
Layer Three: Set up the Ping Pong match:
1 – P is either in the setting, or enters the setting. Either through internal monologue or dialog with another, P states their goal.
2 – A is either in the setting, or enters. A decides to oppose P. Sometimes A has a goal. Sometimes it is nothing more than just to frustrate P.
3 – P, motivated by their goal, says or does something.
4 – A acknowledges P’s statement or action.
5 – A may (or may not) engage in internal monologue
6 – A says or does something designed to frustrate P.
7 – P acknowledges A’s statement or action
8 – P may (or may not) engage in internal monologue
9 – P says or does something to counter A and advance to P’s goal.
Go back to #4, and continue the ping-pong match until A succeeds in denying P.
Layer Four: Add in important Scene Setting details. Modify any parts of the Ping Pong Match which contradict the Scene Setting. Add in important setting details.
Layer Five: Examine the Character incidents. Add in Character characteristics relevant to the scene. Modify any parts of the Ping Pong Match which are inappropriate. Add in important character details.
Layer Six: Add in Character physical attributes. Modify any parts of the Ping Pong Match which aren’t right. Add in interesting or important physical details.
Then write the scene.
How hard can that be?