“And by the way, everything in life is writable about if you have the outgoing guts to do it, and the imagination to improvise. The worst enemy to creativity is self-doubt.”Sylvia Plath
Ever experienced that scene that you can’t get past? Something’s not working properly. Maybe the narrative doesn’t make sense, the plot is not working the way you want to. I’ve recently experienced this with one of my scenes. It was a death scene, but I couldn’t figure out to have it makes sense. How do you get out of this endless hole and emerge on the other side, ready to conquer the rest of your book?
There were a couple things I did
Try all your ideas
This is tedious, trust me, but when you have an idea, jot it down and start writing it on a separate document. When you see it start not to work, trash it and get on to the next idea. Keep going through ideas until you either get some that work, might work, or has potential.
Narrow down your ideas and nit pick at them
After trying all your ideas, cut some out. Once you narrow them down to three or so, you can delve deeper into those ideas. Ask yourself these questions:
Which idea makes most sense in the context of the setting and the plot?
Which idea seems to align with what your character would actually do?
Why were the previous ideas not working for me?
Is the problem the way I am building the situation, or does the idea for this scene just not work at all?
Here’s my example. I needed to write a scene where one of the characters dies because in the first draft, their story just died off with no explanation. I had to remove the character so that they didn’t cause a big plot hole. Problem was, no solution seemed to make sense. They added more questions. Couldn’t they have used his own powers to escape? How would they die? Why would their family go on without them? Do I actually want them to die? How would the characters act in this situation? How would the antagonists act in this situation? ALL very important questions. Answering them was very important to me. First, I staged this escape scene where the end goal was them dead. I tried having them kill them before, causing the family to have to leave anyways, but that didn’t make sense. The family wouldn’t just do that, and it felt wrong. Scrapped that idea. Then, I tried having them kill him in front of them, but then I wondered why they couldn’t just use their powers to stop it? To solve that problem, I thought maybe, the antagonists could block their powers. But they never get close enough to do that. Maybe the antagonists can block the powers of the whole city? But how would they use their own when they were there? Scrapped that idea. Maybe I can have them almost near escape, but they shoot one of them and that person dies. But wait, that also doesn’t make sense, can’t they take them with them? Jesus Christ this is frustrating. Oooo, how about they decides to stay? But why would they? They really want to leave. But their family wouldn’t let that happen. How do I solve that? Oh, he doesn’t give them an option. Wait, but they are escaping by helicopter. How can he just push them on a helicopter? Oh wait, it doesn’t need to be a helicopter, that doesn’t make sense anyway. It’ll be a car, they’ll have a driver, he’ll act weird, and bam, leaves them as the car goes on. Phew! I solved it! Wow, that took a while.
Tackling this tough scenes requires a lot of you asking yourself questions about the scene as if you were the reader. The last thing you want is plotholes and things that just don’t make any sense. Keep asking yourself these question and picking at those nuances, because when you make sure that everything flows and makes sense, it’s 100 times better.
Talk to friends and readers
Friends and readers can give you great insight on a scene. For example, I asked my friend if I could bounce this idea on them. They said “train”, nothing else. That shouldn’t be helpful, but I started thinking about that helicopter problem and thought, “hey, it doesn’t have to be a helicopter! It can be a car!” Then, a new idea grew from there, which was the final piece to this aweful puzzle.
Friends and readers don’t know your story, so they’ll question you and why you do things. This intense questioning makes you reconsider those aspects of your story. They can suggest changes which contribute to the scenes overall clarity.
Observe the world around you
Writing a romance that just doesn’t fit? Tackling a scene with a topic you’re unfamiliar with? Observe the world around you. Meet people and ask them about their lifestyl.e Observe how people talk and walk, how they interact and incorperate that in your writing.
Reading is like a magic sponge: it cleans your mind of the junk and introduced your brain to the realm of creativity. Creativity is the cure to tackling any difficult scene. Observe how the author explains, transitions, and justifies the aspects and scenes in their story. When you observe from pre-existing literarture, you’re giving your brain a break from writing while keeping it in the same kind of headspace.
I hope this helped you tackle your difficult scenes! If you need a buddy to bounce your ideas off, feel free to contact me through my instagram @rmcwrites or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org