Tuesday Writing Tips – Developing Scenes

As I mentioned in last week’s post, I’ve been developing the scenes in my YA work-in-progress, and identifying what needs to be there and what doesn’t.

Revisiting the Plot Arc

I tried something that I think has identified some major problems with my story structure.

I went back to my plot arc and listed the important scenes from memory.

Next I looked at the plot arc/diagram to see if there was rising tension in my scenes.

You can have as many scenes or events as you like on your plot arc, but there must be rising tension

You can have as many scenes or events as you like on your plot arc, but there must be rising tension

From examining my plot arc, this is what I learned:

It’s not that I don’t have enough action, it’s just that it’s in the wrong places.

I have some big action scenes, but they are basically all over the place so ‘rising tension’ is missing from my novel.

I had to go back to my plot arc and rearrange the scenes – change what happens when – and I think it works so much better.

Sometimes you need to be able to take a step back and look at a snapshot of your manuscript. It works for me:)

Conflict in Scenes

Now that I have the order right, I’m looking at each individual scene to see if there’s enough conflict.

I’m asking myself the following questions:

  1. What physical obstacles have I placed in my character’s way?
  2. How has setting contributed – how has it made things worse for my character?
  3. What happens in the scene to make things worse for my character?
  4. Based on what has just happened, what new decisions will my main character have to make?
  5. Why will this scene make the reader keep reading?
  6. Do I really need this scene?
  7. Is this scene in the right place?Do you have any tips on how to develop scenes?Please feel free to share them in the comments section of this post.I hope you’re having an inspiring writing week.Happy writing:)

    Dee

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6 thoughts on “Tuesday Writing Tips – Developing Scenes

  1. Dee, I follow the arc noncommittally a lot, but valued your step by step walk through. Question; do you make this conscious analise after you have the guts and glory of your ms out on paper or do you stop and adjust as you go? Curious Dim

  2. Thanks for your enquiry, Dimity.

    I do a plot arc at the start, but it’s pretty sparse. I then go back and do a more detailed one later in the editing process. I find it’s good to use scenes from memory, because these are the scenes you want the reader to remember. Also, sometimes you add scenes that weren’t in the original plot.

    So in short, I find that a plot arc can be a good developing and editing tool:) I hope this answers your questions:)

    Dee

  3. Brilliant. Yes it does Dee. For me the writing is less prescriptive if I can randomly get the scenes out there first. That’s not to say that I don’t follow some sort of chapter outline initially though. Thanks for your direction. Dimity

  4. That’s kind of how I write too, Dimity. And then I take a step back:) This is quite a recent thing with me to do this overall snapshot look and I think it is going to save me years in editing LOL. Now I feel like I know what to look for – to make sure my big scenes are where they should be.

    Dee:)

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