|This novel-lover has obviously come
to a horrifying section of blah-blah reading.
Many misconceptions about the practices of writers exist among aspiring novelists. Most people imagine authors to sit in a solitary room and bang out their manuscript from first word to last word in sequential order in a matter of weeks.
Not so, my friend.
My work on Charlotte Collins began with the final scene, and then, I worked toward this culmination by writing scene to scene. This technique was suggested to me by a good friend and excellent writer and poet, and it works incredibly well.
The scene-to-scene technique is easy to use. First, write one scene. Then, write another one. Eventually, you can string the scenes together to create a novel. You can move them around as many times as you want or remove one altogether. No big deal. It’s just one little scene.
For me, the most difficult aspect of novel writing, was transitioning between major scenes. I have a horror of what I like to call blah-blah reading. Admit it. Sometimes you skip paragraphs, or even entire pages, of exposition or overly detailed prose. When I do this, my mind is thinking, “Blah, blah, let’s get on to the important stuff.” I can skip entire sections of books and not miss a thing. To me, that’s blah-blah reading: inconcise prose that really ought to have been edited away. A good writer makes every word count, and there should be no section that readers want to skip.
Writing scene to scene allows authors to finish the major scenes and then find the most interesting and economical way to connect them so that readers’ fingers don’t itch to turn the page to the next big scene. I don’t know if I achieved a blah-blah-free novel, but I certainly tried.
The scene-to-scene technique also has many benefits for the fearful writer:
- Writing one scene at a time breaks the larger novel down into manageable chunks. Suddenly, a 200-page novel becomes a 5-page scene. That’s a lot less intimidating.
- This technique allows you to write the scene that is in your head that day without feeling pressured to go in sequence. You are free! You don’t have to stay in order.
- It allows you to skip the segues if you want. During the editing phase, they can be added.
- It keeps you from stagnating. Because you are writing the scenes that are fresh in your mind and exciting to compose, you will keep your passion for your novel burning bright.
Yes, later you will have to come back and make connections, but by that time, you will have an entire novel completed. You’ll be flying high on success, and it won’t seem so challenging to keep your mind focused on the transitional details.
And then, voila, a completed novel written scene by scene and fear free!