Sunday, 14 June 2009

Paragraph in a sentence

I've been having problems restructuring my WIP, mostly because I can't figure out what a "scene" is. I'd always thought of a scene as the kind you get in a play — action confined to the same time and location. Apparently not; there are so many definitions out there that I'm getting totally bewildered.

So rather than scenes, I've divided my story into conflicts, and briefly written what happens within these conflicts/chapters. Some chapters are shorter than others; some may merge into one. I hope a couple of chapters will expand into several as I figure out further plot points.

The other thing I'm doing is summarising each paragraph or set of dialogue into one sentence. This has been really useful as it's shown me where I'm repeating myself; where I need to devote more time to a subject; or simply where I'm not saying anything worth saying.

After this, I'm going to write a synopsis of my story the way I want it to be. Mentally, I've already cut two scenes and added two others which will help the characters' motivations for acting the way they do, later on.

Then I can start the rewrite.

I really like this new sum-every-paragraph-up-in-a-sentence technique; it clarifies whether the paragraph needs to be there.

I want to start rewriting, anyway. I'm sick of trying to re-structure and re-plan everything; it feels like I should start doing. Once I do start writing again, I'll still keep the new structure very much in mind; but after I've done this synopsis, I'm going to start writing the actual story again.

I already know what my problem will be with my (new) first scene... but that's a problem for another day.


Kerryn Angell said...

It sounds like you're working your way into revison. You very much have to find what works for you.

Holly says, "You have written a scene when something important changes." That something has to be important to the story.

I think once you've got the synopsis you'll be able to look at the next few scenes and revise them, then look at the next few. And I know what you mean about needing to actually rewrite the scenes instead of planning the rewrite!

E. J. Gette said...

Dividing your story into conflicts is a great way to go. Just be sure your scenes and especially chapters don't end on a resolution all the time. You want to make your reader move to the next page and/or chapter.

It sounds like you don't have a problem cutting out scenes, that's good. Deleting is sometimes the hardest part of editing. Good luck!