Thursday, February 28, 2008

Writing Lessons From Skipping the Middle

I was having a real problem with a middle scene in That Roman Story Set Entirely in Greece. Basically, I just flat out didn't know what I wanted it to say. It was one of the scenes that describes the 'why' of the other scenes. All this stuff is happening and the reader is being taken along for the ride but I always want some kind of revelatory scene in which the characters come to a sense of completion with the story. You know, the 'why.' Anyway, the scene was refusing to shape itself and I wrote a couple of weak attempts but wasn't happy with them. Then I decided to skip it and write the last scene. That's when it gelled. That's when I figured out what the middle needed to say. So when you're stuck with a scene that just isn't working, skip it and write the next scenes. Something will bubble up and answer the questions you couldn't answer before.

1 comment:

KEANAN BRAND said...

Yup. Done this myself. I often write scenes out of sequence or a long time before I'll ever need them. For instance, I've had the ending of one novel written for a while, but it's the third in a sequence, and I'm only just now getting to the second half of the second novel. That ending may not be used, but it tells me where I'm going (kinda necessary for a writer who rarely outlines). And, like you said, it helps tell me what the material in between needs to say.