Last week we talked about writing that first scene. Today we talk about writing the mid-point scene. This scene comes almost directly in the middle of your novel. It’s the point of no return. Where the stakes get high…and real. Syd Field, who was a master at crafting screenplays, says that ideally, the mid-point scene is where the antagonist holds up a mirror and shows the protagonist his main flaw and that unless he fundamentally changes, he’s going to lose. He’s pushed to the wall. He has to change to survive. That’s great advice for writing the mid-point scene in your novel. Leading up to this mid-point scene, your character will have resisted—over and over—changing his behavior, but here, in this scene, he gets clarity. He gets that the reason things are collapsing around him, that nothing he’s tried has worked, is because of …well…him. He owns up to his own failures…and changes his behavior. So…sketch out that mid-point scene where the mirror is held up and the protagonist has to change in order to get what he wants. This is just a draft, but if you take a stab at this scene now, it will help drive the action of your script from that opening scene, to this midpoint. Here are a few things to keep in mind:
Make it visual. Let us see, taste, smell this moment where the protagonist gets that it’s his own behavior that’s created this mess.
Make it emotional. This is the place to pull out the stops. We need to feel the moment where your character shatters. He’s created this mess. This is his doing. His blind spot. His failure. And his chance for redemption.
Make the stakes high. We have to feel that it’s by no means a sure thing that this going to work. Everything is riding on this. He’s gambling. It may be too late, but it’s the only move left. He has to give up his flaw or die. Literally, figuratively.
Write! Have fun! See you next week!
‘Stumbling along my foot strikes something.’ Writing the scene.
Sunday, July 10th, 2016
Don’t miss my weekly video blog to get info on writing, reading and more!
Today’s a big day; we write a scene. Awkwardly, imperfectly, but a scene. Woot!
Here’s how: Take a moment and go through your list of must-have scenes. A must-have scene, you might recall, is a scene you know your book has to have. (If you want a brief refresher on must-have scenes, review the vlog that aired May 23rd. Go on. I’ll wait.) Ready? Okay. Go down your list…let your eye…your finger…your inner guidance system… help you easily settle on the most playful of scenes that you’ve jotted notes about. It can be a serious scene—by playful, I mean the scene that’s going to be fun in this moment of time to write. And let yourself sink into this world.
That’s right. Pen to page, keystroke to board. Badda bing.
You might have already done this a bazillion times, but if you haven’t, today’s the day.
And it’s never easy, by the way. What? You thought it would be? Always terrifying, exhilarating, illuminating.
It might be of some comfort to hear that James Joyce wrote, “Chance furnishes me with what I need. I am like a man who stumbles along; my foot strikes something. I bend over and it is exactly what I need.”
You’re going to do a lot of stumbling. That’s how you learn. About craft. About characters. About this particular scene.
So trust that you don’t have to know everything. That what you have already jotted down is a great starting place, and that the rest will come… as you go.
Stephen King talked about excavating an artifact, and that you want to do it carefully, not with a hammer and blowtorch, but delicately, knowing that even under the best of circumstances, you still might break off a nose as you pull the statue up. I like to visualize when I write a first draft of a scene that the words are clay. And I’m picking them up and slamming them down and mushing them…manipulating them…and that I can always pick them up and slam them down again. Whatever tool you use to calm yourself down…I would not recommend an artificial one, by the way—those will bite you every time, maybe not right away but always—take a moment and visualize the scene.
Do you see your main character?
What is she wearing?
What energy is he carrying around?
What was his night like last night?
Is there that chronic knot in the back of her neck that’s killing her?
What do his appointments look like today?
Is she pressed for time?
And what the heck does he want?
Who is in the scene stopping him?
And what is he going to do when he can’t get it?
Be brave. Write the scene. And I’ll see you next week.
Excavating the artifact
Sunday, June 26th, 2016
This week we jump into the pool, that big sea of words churning around in one’s head as we discuss writing a scene. Don’t miss my weekly video blog to get info on writing, reading and more!
Sunday, June 19th, 2016
What’s a character to do? This week we discuss how every scene must have its goal. Don’t miss my weekly video blog to get info on writing, reading and more!
We’re where, again?
Thursday, June 16th, 2016
Monday, May 23rd, 2016
Every great book has scenes that stand out. Your must-haves. The vlog today talks about finding those scenes that bring your book to life. Don’t miss my weekly video blog to get info on writing, reading and more!