Scenes make Chapters make Stories

Whew, it’s been a long week! The good news (at least for me) is that I’ve got some work holidays coming up, so it’ll be a but calmer for a couple of weeks at least. But that also means I’m going to be nailing down and doing some writing.

But I have the attention span of a four year old, so that brings us to the question – what am I actually going to write? I’ve got two solid stories going on right now, each of which have been planned out into chapters, and then again into scenes. So I’m going to be at least writing a bunch of scenes.

Here’s why I do it that way; everything has building blocks. For example, a house starts out with its foundation, then you add the structure, and so on until the house is built. Now just for a second, imagine that we built the roof of a house first. Yeah.

So I start with the plot and the characters (I’ve talked about planning both, I believe). After that comes the rough outline for each chapter, and then I delve into the scenes. But I actually write the scenes first.

The reason for this is simple – a number of scenes (a sequence, if you like) builds up to become a chapter. But I don’t actually know for certain where the chapters changes are going to occur. I have an idea of what will happen in each chapter, but when I write it I’m searching for a particular moment to end off the chapter. I like to refer to it as the ad break. You know how when you’re watching a good TV show it’s always at the most intense moment that the ad break comes? That’s the moment I want to end a chapter at. I can’t know exactly what moment is going to be the best to do that until I write it.

And of course, a number of chapters makes up the entire story or book. So what do I plan to do over the next fortnight or so? Write as many scenes as possible. Because if I get enough done, that will become chapters, and if I get enough of those done, well, I think you can work out what happens next.

With my attention span, I can’t guarantee all the scenes will be from the same story. I can’t even tell you if they’ll be from the same section of the story, sometimes I just get so keen to write a particular scene from half way through the book that I can’t help but write that scene. But all of those building blocks are going to come together to make a story in the end.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have at least a hundred scenes to write. See – erm – write to you next fortnight!

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