Two Days from NaNo – Scene Building

It is Two Days from NaNo and I want to talk about Scene Building.

Hello again, welcome back to my NaNoWriMo posts.  The Great Novel Writing Month is Two Days Away!

NaNo is a hectic time.  Sitting down to write wild by the seat of your pants toward a daily word goal of 1667 words is not as easy as it seems.

People will come out of the woodwork.  The mail man will ring at your door with that NaNo mug you bought through the NaNoWriMo store.  The cat will demand your attention.  The phone will ring.  Email will come in.  The Y & R will come on and you know Adam Newman is about to have a Mental Breakdown and it is so out of his character that you really want to be there to see it happen.

November is the best month for leaning to say “no” or at least, “not now.”

I turn off my phone.  I turn off my Skype, close down the email windows and try to ignore the cat.

I have a NaNo cap and when I wear it no one is supposed to talk to me.

Your computer has a short cut that allows you to turn your internet off.  Keeping these things in mind I want to talk about scenes for a little bit.

What is a Scene?

A scene has a lot of things inside.  I try to plan a scene before I write it but during NaNo that just invites the huge temptation to overthink it and suddenly your internal editor escapes from the kennel and then everything slows to a crawl and the words stop coming.

I use a scenes checklist.  From December till October 31st I will fill the form with loads of detail.  For NaNo, I use it so that I am clear on where I am in space and time, the weather or season, what it smells like, things that keep the story from becoming a flat featured desert.

I like to play with images, props, symbols so I will put those things into the scene.

You want to keep track of who the scene belongs to.  You should never head hop during scene.  Who is going to be there?  What are they going to say?  Why?

What is the point of the scene?  It might be as simple as getting the characters out of the mall before the gunmen open fire.

What is the point of view for the scene?

Every scene needs a climax and exit line.

A scene is a slice of time and place that does not go on forever.  It has a beginning and an ending.

Weekend Novelist cover art
Well Used Weekend Novelist by Robert J. Ray

I copied this Checklist a long time ago from The Weekend Novelist and have managed to transfer the file from at least four computers.  Thank you Robert J. Ray for writing this book.

 

 Scene Checklist

Stage Setup:

time/place

temperature/season

lighting/sounds/smells

symbols/images

 

Characters/relationships:

Dialogue

subjects

subtext

 

Action:

large

small

 

Point of View:

 

Climax

 

Exit Line

Come back soon and I’ll talk about the info I keep on index cards and don’t touch anything sharp.

 

 

 

By Sally

Sally Franklin Christie Blogger and Author of If I Should Die and Milk Carton People.