Scene selection

It’s happening. I’m doing it. I’ve got a fresh pack of index cards and I’m filling them in, one scene per card. I already know a lot about what’s going to happen in my novel, but I don’t know everything. That’s apparently about to change.

This week’s assignment for my online creative writing course is to map out the middle of the novel, scene by scene by scene. This means a whole bunch of decisions to make, especially since I’ve got two main characters who both have stories to tell. I can’t get away with skipping plot points or fudging details; now is the time to nail down my plot. Every single scene needs to contribute to the overall story and propel the narrative forward.

This is a big challenge because there are so many threads to track! I’m sorting out character development and conflicts, ups and downs and complications. I have to keep the whole story in mind but break it up into manageable scenes.

Once I’ve created a card for every scene I can think of, I’m going to lay them all out across my dining room table and put them in order. Then I should be able to see what’s missing and fill in the blanks with more scene cards.

This whole process is tiring and exciting and overwhelming and powerful. I’ve been working at this project for years but this is the first time I’m laying out all my pieces in such an organized, definitive way. Once this process is done, I should be able to go back to my drafts and see exactly what to keep, what to add and how to stitch it all together.

Then I just have to write the damn book.