Friday, September 3, 2010

the point of a scene

I spent the day writing a transition chapter. I need to move my heroine from Pittsburgh to New Mexico but I decided she needs to stop and see her ex on the way. She hasn't quite hit bottom yet and I think he can be instrumental in getting her there. But I don't yet know how. That's the next chapter to write.

But this chapter of travel, of road trip, needs to have its purpose too. While there's the possibility of using an occasional brief scene or chapter for glue, just to paste some things together, I'd rather not do that. So when I sat down to write the road trip, I felt a little stymied. It wouldn't take many sentences to have her drive to from southern Pennsylvania to Houston. In fact, I accomplished most of that in about 6 sentences and still said something about her state of mind.  But that wasn't enough.

So I thought about other things I could convey that would contribute to the plot or character development. Her distrust of men. Her fear of the killer. Her desire to stop being in fear. Her sorrow at leaving her best friend behind when that friend might also be a prey. Somehow I needed to convey all of this too. I wrote a draft of a chapter in which she thinks about some of these things but my challenge next time I write will be to see how I can create that through "show," not "tell." But at least I've identified what I want to communicate.

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