I am a writer. I create innovative creative and business writing courses. I inspire others to tell their stories. My company's name is Writers Write. My email address is amanda@writerswrite.co.za

How to make the most of the scenes you already have →

Jeffrey Archer spends three years plotting. Stephen King says he doesn’t plot. John Grisham uses a master plot formula. Whichever way works for you, you still have to get from scene one to scene 60. The question is how? The easy answer is by writing. No sh*t, right? Is that all?

I have mentioned before that I like to plan, but I don’t do much more than an outline. In this post, Why Writers Should Always Make a Scene, I explained why I list my scenes and how I keep track. My first outline has around 20 scenes. 

Sometimes I stare at the list all day and think I have exhausted all the avenues. I think this story is dead and I suck. I am convinced there is not one single scenario I can add, or worse, I start improvising 40 extra scenes because I have to and that becomes forced. When I start adding scenes simply to make up numbers I am going to write myself into trouble.

What can I do? Once the tears have dried and the Xanax has kicked in, I’ll go back and think about what I want to do. 

First, I will confirm my story goal. 
Second, I check that every scene I already have has a goal. The scene goal should be either to move my protagonist closer or further from the story goal. The scenes that are forced will fall away.
Third, I will have fewer scenes. Bad, right? Not really. Try this. I will make sure I am utilising my existing scenes. I have to make the most of them. 

The Cell Phone Reaction

Let’s say my protagonist is having a lovely afternoon. She has just solved a difficult work problem. She left early to celebrate and is on her way home when her phone dies. The battery is flat.

Think of three reactions she could have: 

  1. She can ignore it. Nothing is urgent. She is happy to have a tech-free afternoon. Who is desperate to get hold of her?
  2. She can stop and buy a charger for her car. 
  3. She can stop at her best friend’s house for a chat and use her charger. 

Now think of three scenarios that can happen if:

She ignores it: 
a) Her boss is calling to say her plan failed. He can’t get hold of her so her pushy colleague takes over. 
b) Her husband was in an accident, he called to say goodbye and she missed his final words.
c) Her mother freaks out when she can’t get hold of her and she arrives home to find her house inundated by cops and her hysterical mother directing the search for her mangled body. 

She buys a charger: 
a) She runs into an ex-boyfriend at the store. They go for a drink.
b) She sees her husband walking in with another woman. They are very cosy. 
c) The store she is in is robbed and she is taken hostage. 

She visits her BFF’s house:
a) She arrives at her friend’s house to find her husband’s car in her friend’s drive way. Why is he here?
b) Her friend is drunk at 3pm. 
c) Her friend isn’t there, but she finds her friend’s neighbour snooping around the back of the house.

Not all of scenarios are going to work for your story, but one or two should add to your plot. Now improvise three more scenarios for the ones you chose. Look at how far a dead cell phone can go.

As writers we introduce and add as we go along. Sometimes we should stop and look at what we have and consider what we can use again. A dead cell phone can go from an annoying inconvenience to a sub-plot.

by Mia Botha for Writers Write

— 6 hours ago with 86 notes
#How to make the most of the scenes you already have  #Mia Botha  #Writers Write  #Writing Advice 
Happy Birthday, Gail Carson Levine, born 17 September 1947
The Writer’s Oath 
I promise solemnly: 1. to write as often and as much as I can, 2. to respect my writing self, and 3. to nurture the writing of others. I accept these responsibilities and shall honour them always.
10 Quotes
Establish writing habits, whatever they are, a particular time to write, a number of pages that have to be written, a time goal. If you choose my method, the time goal, write it down as you go. Don’t let it be vague.
Know that you are a writer and your obligation, possibly your calling, is to write. Writing is your fallback position. As much as you can, avoid judging your work. When you find yourself doing it, shift your thoughts elsewhere. 
There’s nothing wrong with reading a book you love over and over. When you do, the words get inside you, become a part of you, in a way that words in a book you’ve read only once can’t.
A library is infinity under a roof.
Why do you keep reading a book? Usually to find out what happens. Why do you give up and stop reading it? There may be lots of reasons. But often the answer is you don’t care what happens. So what makes the difference between caring and not caring? The author’s cruelty. And the reader’s sympathy … it takes a mean author to write a good story.
It is helpful to know the proper way to behave, so one can decide whether or not to be proper.
When you become a teenager, you step onto a bridge. You may already be on it. The opposite shore is adulthood. Childhood lies behind. The bridge is made of wood. As you cross, it burns behind you.
As for my characters, I discover them as I write. When they feel blank I use the character questionnaire you can find in Writing Magic. The one thing I do do is visualize. I need to see my characters moving through a scene, to know where they are and what they’re seeing, hearing, touching, smelling.
When I write, I make discoveries about my feelings.
The reason I work anywhere is because I trained myself to be able to many years ago after reading Becoming A Writer  by Dorothea Brande. I travel a fair amount, and I don’t want my work to grind to a halt whenever I leave home. People who can  write only when the moon is full and the stars are in a certain alignment don’t finish many books. 
Read more on Gail’s Blog
Levine is an American author of young adult books. Her first novel, Ella Enchanted, received a Newbery Honour.
Source for image
by Amanda Patterson for Writers Write

Happy Birthday, Gail Carson Levine, born 17 September 1947

The Writer’s Oath 

I promise solemnly: 
1. to write as often and as much as I can, 
2. to respect my writing self, and 
3. to nurture the writing of others. 
I accept these responsibilities and shall honour them always.

10 Quotes

  1. Establish writing habits, whatever they are, a particular time to write, a number of pages that have to be written, a time goal. If you choose my method, the time goal, write it down as you go. Don’t let it be vague.
  2. Know that you are a writer and your obligation, possibly your calling, is to write. Writing is your fallback position. As much as you can, avoid judging your work. When you find yourself doing it, shift your thoughts elsewhere. 
  3. There’s nothing wrong with reading a book you love over and over. When you do, the words get inside you, become a part of you, in a way that words in a book you’ve read only once can’t.
  4. A library is infinity under a roof.
  5. Why do you keep reading a book? Usually to find out what happens. Why do you give up and stop reading it? There may be lots of reasons. But often the answer is you don’t care what happens. So what makes the difference between caring and not caring? The author’s cruelty. And the reader’s sympathy … it takes a mean author to write a good story.
  6. It is helpful to know the proper way to behave, so one can decide whether or not to be proper.
  7. When you become a teenager, you step onto a bridge. You may already be on it. The opposite shore is adulthood. Childhood lies behind. The bridge is made of wood. As you cross, it burns behind you.
  8. As for my characters, I discover them as I write. When they feel blank I use the character questionnaire you can find in Writing Magic. The one thing I do do is visualize. I need to see my characters moving through a scene, to know where they are and what they’re seeing, hearing, touching, smelling.
  9. When I write, I make discoveries about my feelings.
  10. The reason I work anywhere is because I trained myself to be able to many years ago after reading Becoming A Writer  by Dorothea Brande. I travel a fair amount, and I don’t want my work to grind to a halt whenever I leave home. People who can  write only when the moon is full and the stars are in a certain alignment don’t finish many books. 

Read more on Gail’s Blog

Levine is an American author of young adult books. Her first novel, Ella Enchanted, received a Newbery Honour.

Source for image

by Amanda Patterson for Writers Write

— 13 hours ago with 105 notes
#Gail Carson Levine  #Literary Birthday  #Amanda Patterson 
Literary Birthday - 17 September
Happy Birthday, William Carlos Williams, born 17 September 1883, died 4 March 1963
Nine Quotes
My first poem was a bolt from the blue … it broke a spell of disillusion and suicidal despondence. … it filled me with soul satisfying joy.
In description words adhere to certain objects, and have the effect on the sense of oysters, or barnacles.
If they give you lined paper, write the other way.
One thing I am convinced more and more is true and that is this: the only way to be truly happy is to make others happy. When you realize that and take advantage of the fact, everything is made perfect.
The job of the poet is to use language effectively, his own language, the only language which is to him authentic.
I keep writing largely because I get a satisfaction from it which can’t be duplicated elsewhere. It fills the moments which otherwise are either terrifying or depressed. 
I think all writing is a disease. You can’t stop it.
But all art is sensual and poetry particularly so. It is directly, that is, of the senses, and since the senses do not exist without an object for their employment all art is necessarily objective. It doesn’t declaim or explain, it presents.
Poets are damned but they are not blind, they see with the eyes of angels.
Williams was an American poet closely associated with modernism and imagism. He was also a paediatrician. Williams, ‘worked harder at being a writer than he did at being a physician’, but excelled at both.
Source for Image
by Amanda Patterson for Writers Write

Literary Birthday - 17 September

Happy Birthday, William Carlos Williams, born 17 September 1883, died 4 March 1963

Nine Quotes

  1. My first poem was a bolt from the blue … it broke a spell of disillusion and suicidal despondence. … it filled me with soul satisfying joy.
  2. In description words adhere to certain objects, and have the effect on the sense of oysters, or barnacles.
  3. If they give you lined paper, write the other way.
  4. One thing I am convinced more and more is true and that is this: the only way to be truly happy is to make others happy. When you realize that and take advantage of the fact, everything is made perfect.
  5. The job of the poet is to use language effectively, his own language, the only language which is to him authentic.
  6. I keep writing largely because I get a satisfaction from it which can’t be duplicated elsewhere. It fills the moments which otherwise are either terrifying or depressed. 
  7. I think all writing is a disease. You can’t stop it.
  8. But all art is sensual and poetry particularly so. It is directly, that is, of the senses, and since the senses do not exist without an object for their employment all art is necessarily objective. It doesn’t declaim or explain, it presents.
  9. Poets are damned but they are not blind, they see with the eyes of angels.

Williams was an American poet closely associated with modernism and imagism. He was also a paediatrician. Williams, ‘worked harder at being a writer than he did at being a physician’, but excelled at both.

Source for Image

by Amanda Patterson for Writers Write

— 13 hours ago with 51 notes
#william carlos williams  #lit  #literary birthday  #amanda patterson  #writers write 
qsprn:

➽ cool people [Mierop Inline]

qsprn:

➽ cool people [Mierop Inline]

— 23 hours ago with 50 notes