September 11th, 2011


In Which We Remember To Breathe (#ROW80)


So, that's it, then. Midpoint. The halfway mark. The point where EVERYTHING CHANGES. From my previous work on key scenery I already have the mysterious-fleet-approaching ending in a climatic OMG it's YOU, yer BASTARD scene (ending in the proverbial Hitchcockian dun-dun-DUNNNNNNNNNNN!). Now I need the two-scene runup cataloging the stakes as they stand, i.e. What We Need For Survival and Why We Don't Have It that will make the arrival of the Big Bad so much worse. I know pretty much what these scenes entail, so I should have an okay week of it.

It did get me thinking about a couple of scene-making elements. One, the storyboarding technique I've been using helps tremendously. It helps me find potential problems before I begin writing, so I don't end up staring at the Blinking Cursor of Doom. My storyboards, jotted down on index cards, look something like this (using my Opening Scene as an example):

SETUP: At the prow of the Sea Spinner

Time/Place: night, approaching harbor
Temp/Season: chill, thick fog, autumn
Sensory: lighthouse in the distance, condensation-slick railing, crew in rigging, clanging bell, waves against hull, clanging ship bell
Symbols/Images: ship, fog, sea, lighthouse

CHARACTERS: Ship Captain, Fallen Knight

  Subject: Ship captain retiring and selling ship, fathers and sons
  Subtext: FK's exile, his complicated relationship with his father

ACTION:  (large) sailing (supporting) gripping railing, physical tension, arms crossed, leaning, standing straight

CLIMAX: Fiery shipwreck in progress (not the Spinner)

I can then brainstorm the scene in three parts: Setting (searching for tactile, textual images and sensory detail), Dialogue (searching out conflict and subtext), and Action/Image (ditto). The mashing together of these elements then comprises of the rewrite scene I put into the computer. The Climax of the scene is then the hook into the next scene in the sequence meant to keep the readers flipping the pages. The storyboard also tells me if I'm stuck on subtext or the climax I'm missing something or doing something wrong. It also allows me to plan scenes out of sequence if I'm feeling particularly inspired by a certain scene in the story. The index card serves as a place holder.

IN OTHER NEWS: I experienced a creative epiphany in regards to Keepers #2 that kind of blew my plot wide open and provided one or two elements I realized I'd been missing, so there's that to contend with in the near future.

ALSO: Some of us were lamenting the What Do I Do Now? aspects of being published, i.e., getting our stories into the hawt little hands of readers. Apparently we are not the only ones feeling this way. Check out this post from Smart Bitches, Trashy Books: The Author's To Do List: Avoiding WTF-WDIDN.

ALSO ALSO: I have another guest post going up on September 27 at Literary Rambles for their Tip Tuesday feature, so if you missed or can't find (or feel like reliving the fun of) "Zen and the Art of Chocolate" mark your calendars. 

AND, MOST IMPORTANT: Be sure to stop by and wave the ROW80 pom-poms around at a few other fellow writers, since you're here already, thus.