But I Don’t Know Where My Scene Is Going


But I Don’t Know Where My Scene Is Going

What Do I Do?


Ever thought that? At least it’s not so tragic as wondering why I’m writing this story.

Still…the scene seems pointless and…just…won’t…end. Stumble through to the end…or delete it?

Plotters have at least one advantage over plotters (they often call themselves discovery writers). If nothing else, I’d already beat my head against a wall figuring out a story flow. At least I’d had a vision, once, long ago, before putting any words to paper.

On my last WIP, a 130,000 word novel, tumbled into a way to address the off-track scene. I pause at Part boundaries, review the outline to the end…and change future scenes if necessary, but don’t ever, ever, ever go back to revise anything written. Only with certainty I’ve tied every loose end together, and plot and character arcs mesh, do I start writing again.

And, with one exception, I stuck with it. After completing Part One, the outline needed no changes. With Part Two tucked away, simple outline tweaks fixed everything. Then, late in Part Three a fatal structural flaw emerged — no scenes from the point my MC uncovered her fatal flaw to rallying her friends to victory. That discovery derailed my story and I stopped, invented new scenes, changed character arcs, finished Parts Three and Four.

Then I contemplated the train wreck — a bloated manuscript with Story Beats falling on the wrong word counts. Thanks to a Part Three twice as long as planned, plus other excursion, 110,000 words became 168,000. But, with all the heartache, I’d completed my story…just not one I’d meant to tell. But, with little invested in the actual words, no concrete had set, as John Truby would say, leaving lots of freedom to mend things.

So…returning to our original problem…that awful scene. Unless the entire structure has failed, finish the scene as best as possible, and go on to the next scene. Sleep safely knowing rest-stops ahead provide perfect times to look at how the tale has played out, and whether the outline ahead captures the emerging story.

Scrap the scene? Nope.

Time for that later.


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