Sunday, September 20, 2009

Scene capsules

Well, one of the great ideas that came from Karen S. Wiesner's book, from First Draft to Finished Novel, was to write 'scene capsules' which make the basic elements of your book. Simply, each chapter is composed of a variety of scenes (just like a movie) and in each scene, you have to have:
Chapter and Scene #:
Point-of-view character:
Additional characters:
Approximate time:
Draft of scene: Chapter 14 sc. 2 (formerly Part 2, Chapter 3, scene 2)
Day: November 15
Point-of-view character: MP Lefevre
Additional characters: Chase Nguyen, The Ghosts of Man
Location: in the Mercury Topaz heading out to Leamington
Approximate time: 9 a.m.

Draft of scene: Nguyen was pissed – in the car on the way back from the cemetery. He’s jonsing for his heroine, and there is none to be found, because MP gave it to Luc. They get into a fight, and MP is smacked around. We see a side of Nguyen that makes us scared, and provides some insight into MP’s life. She’s not going to put up with this shit anymore.

So, given that information, you can plot out and pace your story, making sure that you fit in everything you want to fit in - but very simply. This way you can go back and look at the whole thing and see what you like, don't like, and make changes "on the fly" rather than rewriting the whole thing at a later date (like I'm having to do now).

That all being said, I've decided that after reviewing the manuscript and reviewing all the changes I care to make, I should go back and plot each scene over again, making sure that they're all plotted properly with the rest of the story.

The biggest change I made was removing some time travel from the story, and that means that everything that my protagonist went back in time to do over, had to be conflated back into the time-travel-less version of the manuscript. So it's been challenging to get everything back into shape. Anyhow ...

A great big chunk of today has been "rewriting" all of the scenes to make sure that everything I need to happen does in a logical way. By changing the story as significantly as I have, it's made for omissions in some places, made additions required in other places, and major edits to a significant bulk of what will remain in the book. I would have to imagine that these changes should shorten the book a little bit, but we'll have to see- there were certainly be some scenes and chapters that will have to be completely reinvented or written from scratch to facilitate some of the changes.

Another neat addition will be the growth of one of the minor characters in the story, whom I hope will make some scenes more interesting, or at least more full of conflict than before. How he's going to wind up sounding and all of that is yet to be confirmed, but it should be fun to develop him.

But I guess I'm blogging about this now because I'm probably ready to quit working at it for today. I've been through almost 16 chapters and 14 pages of recaps, which may not sound like a lot, but it is for all in one sitting (I think, anyhow. I've never done this before.)

The great part will be that I should be able to finish this by tomorrow. And once that's finished it means I've got all of the scenes, all of the characters, all of the settings, all of the material all in front of me exactly where it needs to be - and I just have to use some mortar to put it all together -and then it will be ready for some further peer reviews (so I hope you're ready to do some more reading, folks. I'm going to need your help.)

I hope you're as excited about this as I am - it's been a long while in the making (almost two years) so ... it's about time I finished something like this, don't you think?

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