Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Less Thinking, More Doing Required

It's hard to rebuild old habits.

For over seven years straight I faithfully put fingers to keyboard on a regular basis, then with this past year of "other commitments" that wonderful habit was destroyed. Oh, on occasion I'd wander back into my dream world of writing, editing, planning, even going so far as to believe that I was back in the game, but inevitably the next big thing on the Family List of to-do's sucked me away again. I guess there's something to be said for reaching that empty pocket mode--no money to spend=more time to write.

My problem now, however, is that during this past year while my fingers couldn't be tapping, I got very used to "dreaming" or "thinking fiction" to fulfill that creative need in me. Now I have to re-train myself to once again multitask while being creative. I need to get those thoughts into a document now.

After much deliberation of what writerly thing to work on first, I decided to edit one of my favorite stories. I wrote this story during Nanowrimo in 2009. And although I remember a synopsis version of the story, I can't remember it scene by scene. My challenge to myself this week is to create a scene-by-scene run-down of this story to spot weaknesses in the plot, characters, and story telling.

For each scene I'm logging the following:

POV Character

One-line title for the scene

What is introduced in this scene (ie. any new characters, new setting)

What is revealed in this scene (ie. required backstory, new plot element)

The Goal (whether it's a scene goal or story goal)

What is the setting

What is the conflict

Movement --Can I see this scene acted out as I read, or can it be caught in a snapshot, perhaps of someone thinking like the cartoon above depicts?

Character--What does this scene reveal about the character(s)?

Senses--Which are missing? Sight, Smell, Sound, Touch, Taste, Feel (I add this sixth one as a way of keeping track of elements of spirituality and emotions being present--internal feelings)

The point of all this is to refamiliarize myself with the story as well as pointing out my next steps with respect to editing it?

Question for you: Would you add anything else to this list?

Till next time, may blessings surround you, and write on...

Surrendering to Him,


Joanne said...

This seems like a good way to get back into the writing "groove." Working with a story already written seems like it would bring back the structure of the process as you review your work. Enjoy!

Wendy Paine Miller said...

Hey, so cool to see you back at it!

I guess this one goes along with Movement, but what you're writing believable. Could it really happen or would it?

So excited for you dive back in!
~ Wendy

Jessica Nelson said...

Woohoo! So glad to see you back in the blogosphere. I wouldn't add anything because it's already so organized I had to skim. LOL
I hope you have fun getting back in the groove!

Keli Gwyn said...

I sense your growing excitement as you get back into your writing, Eileen, and I'm happy for you. I hope you have fun getting reacquainted with your characters.

Your list is great. One thing I'd suggest adding is what your ROP (read-on prompt) is for each scene.

Eileen Astels Watson said...

Thanks, guys!

Believability is a great one to add, and I love the ROP (never heard of that one before, Keli.)

I finished doing this scene-by-scene last night, I'll have to look at these as I rewrite as well. I discovered, sadly, that I have a whole to do to fix this baby!!!

Erica Vetsch said...

That is a great list! And editing is a great way to get back into the swing of writing.

Are you bursting with new ideas?

Jeanette Levellie said...

I think you've covered it all, dear.

Welcome back to the fun life!

kathrynjankowski said...

These are all good. I tend to go by what Sandra Scofield sets out in THE SCENE BOOK: event/emotion; function; structure; and pulse. I highly recommend her book. :)

Katy said...

Hi! I found your blog by doing some blog-surfing and I'm adding myself as your newest follower. I hope you'll check out my blog as well!

Elle Strauss said...

Sounds like a good plan--I'm sure it will be helpful!

Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Hi Eileen -

I think you've hit on a great way to prime the 'ol writing pump. :)


Karen Lange said...

Looks like a great list. Great to see you again! Thanks for stopping by my blog.

Loree Huebner said...


I believe you’ve got it covered with your list. I would only add - enjoy yourself - as you reconnect with your story. It might seem overwhelming at first but don’t get discouraged, you'll be right in the thick of it before you know it. Take it one day at a time.

I love when you said that you were “dreaming” and “thinking fiction.” I love that – “thinking fiction” - I do that too when I can’t be writing. Realistically it is writing…writing in our heads until we can put it to the page.

Have fun!

quietspirit said...

A very good list. Nice to see you back writing again.