Have you ever read something you’ve written, and know that it just doesn’t “work” but you can’t figure out why?
I’m currently reading a beta that is in probably its fiftieth draft. That’s okay. People write at different speeds. For me personally, I am reading this manuscript for probably the sixth or seventh time. Each time I read it, I am pleasantly surprised by the “growth” of the story.
So, here’s where the “Why doesn’t this chapter work” comes in. I am DEVOURING this manuscript this time around. The added scenes are spot-on. The story is exciting and driven. Then BAM! I hit a roadblock.
I hit a scene that just didn’t satisfy me. Was it written well? Yes. Did it follow the plot? Yes. So what was wrong?
I went back to a writing lesson I learned probably a year ago. It said that each scene needs to be a miniature story in itself. It has to start, have a rising action, a climax, a falling action, and a resolution. Now, I am not saying that this needs to be in depth. Think of it. A falling action can be as simple as an emotional response of a character shaking their head… but a scene really DOES need to have all these elements.
The problem with this scene is that it didn’t do this. It was a scattering of information, mostly that I already knew as a reader, and it did not push the story forward. No, it was not filler. I just don’t think the author “did what they intended” to do with that scene.
Now, I’m not psychotic. I am not saying that I look at every scene I write for rising action, climax and resolution, but I think at this point I naturally write this way… as all serious writers should.
So next time a scene is bothering me, and I can’t figure out why, I’m going to dissect it. Does it have a rising action? Climax? Falling action?
Most importantly … is something resolved?
I think that’s the biggie. If nothing is resolved (however minor) then the scene does not drive the story forward.
What are your thoughts?
- If You Know Anything About Climaxes, Please Help (insideliamsbrain.wordpress.com)
- The Simple Process of Creating Thought from an Idea By Katrina Stradford (mskstradford.wordpress.com)
- A Necessary Chore…Editing (mandyevebarnett.com)
- Fight Scene Technicalities (attackingthepage.com)