Thursday, October 8, 2009

UGH to scenes that "drag"

I was working on my new WIP and noticed that the scene I had just finished was dragging. It occurred to me that writers are suppose to get into a scene late and get out early. I remember reading somewhere that the writers chant is, "In late, out early."

A writer should come into the conflict as late as possible and leave as early as you can often before the conflict is over. That is good reading. I wish I could remember where I heard it because it's great advice. If you think of each scene that way you shouldn't have any scenes that drag.

I decided to take out the extra baggage from the beginning, middle and end. It worked! I saw that I had too much extra 'stuff' in. When I took that out the scene worked. I did add a sentence in the beginning and a little in the middle. In other words, I had empty words in the scene. Once I dumped them, I was in business.

How do you fix those dreary scenes and add luster to them so that they aren't ugh.

17 comments:

  1. I highlight the 'action sentences' in red. I highlight the 'explanatory sentences' in blue. If I have too much blue, it's time to cut. Very similiar to your method. I do something similiar to my gerunds, adverbs and adjectives and passive verbs. If there is too much of one color-I see it right away.

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  2. Kristi, very good way to help you SEE what needs changing. If I don't do things like this I can't notice these things no matter how many times I read my MS. :)

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  3. Ugh scenes! Too funny.
    Sometimes I remove an entire scene. Other times I think about what else is going on around the characters to add some external conflict.

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  4. Yep, you're totally right. I know when I find scenes that are dragging, it's because I don't have enough conflict.

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  5. PJ, That's how those types of scenes make me feel--UGH! :) That's a great way... to think about what's going on around the characters which helps in adding the conflict. :)

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  6. BJ, you're right after PJ. :) Anywhooo, CONFLICT is the name of the game. And every page MUST have it in some way. Hope the editing is going!! :0)

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  7. Robyn, I'm like you. I cut and cut and cut. Anything that feels extraneous or even slightly redundant is removed. Then, when I have the remaining stuff, I ask if it feels unique. If it isn't, if it's too generic in any way, I cut that too. I wish I could say that my writing choices required a lot of creativity, but right now I feel like it's a matter of selectivity.

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  8. Davin, what I wish I could say, is that when I write I write so tight that I don't need to cut much. I want to get to that point, SOMEDAY! :)

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  9. Robyn, I just deleted three Ugh scenes! It felt great to get rid of the baggage. I love Kristi's suggestion to highlight different aspects of the scene.

    Thanks for giving me a lot to think about.

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  10. Tamika, Doesn't it empower you to write tighter and stronger so that you won't have to delete? It does me. I am trying to see just how tight I can write. It's HARD! :)

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  11. I've deleted so many ugh scenes. It feels really good!

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  12. Hey Susan, I just realized I need to hop over to your blog. Lazy Writer is now gone, replaced by your name. You must have made a decision. :)

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  13. I like the idea of highlighting different parts of a scene - so nice and visual! I tend to write off the top of my head, and then cut and cut when I'm revising. Getting into the conflict late and coming out early is great advice.

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  14. Belle, thanks and conflict on every page. :)

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  15. Isn't it cool when WIP work and brain power work collaboratively? :)

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