Hack: Creating the Scene
Having trouble setting up a scene?
Have you done a read through on your finished draft and found some dull spots, but have no clue on how to pep them up?
Here's your solution: Have some fun with it.
When I'm having trouble setting a scene, I sit down with a pen and paper, then get to brainstorming. Begin making lists of places that would connect to your story, characters, personality, hobbies, etc. You know your characters best. If your story is lacking a backstory, do the same but you can also add other characters and their hobbies, personality etc.
Once you have 5-6 key words in each category, it's time to narrow it down.
First, pick your poison. Index cards. Dice. A spin wheel.
Then take each keyword and add it to your preferred method to the game. I like doing the index cards or spin wheel. If doing a spin wheel, write your keywords on small pieces of paper that you can tape and remove easily to the board.
Next, do one category at a time.
I'm going to stick to the spin wheel for this example. Let's say I'm doing a backstory scene and need a hobby, age, another character, and a place. First I will tape the keywords in my hobby list, spin the wheel, and let the wheel choose for me. Follow these steps for all categories.
Finally, see if your scene makes sense.
Think real hard about the keywords chosen. Does it make sense? Can you make it work? It's okay to be a little goofy, it can lead to one great scene.
If overall it works for you, excellent. If not, you can go through the steps again - maybe even changing the keywords - until you get a scene you are satisfied with.
Working & Doing What You Love
It's been over five months since I started my new job as a FME Monitor at ANO Nuclear Facility. Was this a part of my dream and plans for the future? Not at all. Don't get me wrong, I'm thankful every day for the blessing of having a job and providing for my family. But on that same note, it saddens me to a point because I feel like I'm being robbed. Robbed of my passion: Writing.
Over the last six months, I've felt like my writing has went splat. I struggled to find time to write and when I did have a few hours alone, I didn't want to do anything but sleep. This comes with the territory of being a parent, spouse, employee, and friend. Throw in those sick days and unplanned events and you've got chaos. It's something everyone goes through everyday, whether their passion be writing, sports, art, gaming, what have you.
But you see, I was the one letting myself down. No one else. Because it is possible to do what you have to along side what you love to do. Isn't that what we do when we raise our families, go on dates with our spouses, hang out with friends? We do this alongside our everyday tasks. The same can be said about our passions.
So how do you beat the rhythm of life to include your dreams into them?
It's not simple, no lie there. It's all about passion and drive.
When I was at my weakest, thinking it was over and on the verge of deleting myself from existence (not my real life, just online presence) I found inspiration. Not just from one person, but from many. I was about to let depression and self-loathing get the best of me. Then I began talking to others and reading other people's stories. Stories of their struggles and how they made it work.
So, how do you make it work?
There are no secrets. No top 10 ways. You just do it!
It was the Saturday before Thanksgiving for me, when my local library was hosting a writers conference. My friend, Quinn Loftis, was one of the guest speakers, as was I. Quinn was the first to speak that morning and she spoke about how much hard work goes into writing and how you can't give up. You either have it or you don't. I left after that conference to go on vacation and her words stayed with me all the way through the winding roads of the mountains, until we reached our cabin late that night.
I talked with my husband about how I was feeling and how I missed writing, but knew that if it wasn't for my extra income, we wouldn't be on vacation with our kids. He told me he would rather see me happy and writing, than miserable. I told myself I had to make this work, for myself and my family. That's when Stephen King's biography came to me in the late night hours. He didn't start out in some elaborate office, the kids off to school, and his wife working hard while he had eight hours a day to write. No! He wrote on his lunch breaks. He got up early in the mornings and stayed up late at night. He didn't need the world to revolve around his writing. Writing had to revolve around his life. And he made it work, obviously.
So now, what do I do? I make time, every single day, to write. Some days I may only get thirty minutes of writing time. Some days I may get that whole eight hours. But it's not about the time or the word count, it's about continuing the journey until it's complete.
The whole moral of this story, and of me needing to share this post with you, with myself, is to say it's possible. It is. You just have to have the drive and want to make it happen. You have to be willing to sacrifice catching up on the latest gossip during lunch to finish that battle scene. You have to be willing to DVR this weeks latest episode of The Walking Dead and get in that first kiss.
Above all else, you have to keep your spirits high and not let life and doubt get the best of you. Lord knows I almost did, several times. And it might happen again, but pushing forward is my only option.
And if you need support, it's out there. There are a tone of writers who go through struggle, whether it be low self-esteem, finding time to juggle writing and life, or feeling at a loss on their current project. We are a community, and together we push one another forward.
I am always here to help.
Wish you all the best!
Writing my thoughts and experiences one post at a time.