Building up a scene

by TheHack on June 21, 2010

I started doing something with my daily writing that is working pretty well for me. I started doing it when I started writing in bursts throughout the day. I haven’t been writing straight through a scene. Instead I have kind of been doing something similar to what most artists do when drawing a picture. They normally will do a quick pencil sketch of the basic shapes to get the main layout and then come back and fill in detail in multiple passes until they have the completed picture.

During the last few days, my writing has gone something like this:

  • 200-300 words of the main conversations and actions of the characters
  • 100 words of describing the area they are in
  • 200 words adding in some details that highlight the tension or conflict in the scene
  • 200-300 words adding in various things that have occurred to me as I’ve written throughout the day.

So the scenes are around 700-900 words which might be short but is pretty typical for how I write.

One thing that is important to note is that I’m not editing anything as I go. I might correct a name if I see that I’ve accidentally used Roger when it should have been Gerald or something like that but I don’t correct spelling, grammar or other 2nd draft type of corrections. This is all about getting out an ugly first draft and using the shorter writing bursts to start with a basic idea and flesh it out throughout the day.

One of the more interesting side effects is that because the scene is in my mind and in progress all day, I frequently think of little things that will tie it to other scenes or tie it to the bigger plot. I also think of several new scenes that I should write.

It might not work for everyone but it has been working very well for me.

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