Possible Scenes: Choose the Most Dramatic

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What is you realize that your opening scene is not working, but really, you can’t think of what to do next? You’re STUCK on that opening that you wrote and can’t imagine what to do next.

The problem is the same as always. The first draft of a story is to tell you what story you want to tell; every draft after that is to help you find the most dramatic way to tell that story.

Here’s one way to approach the problem of what scenes need to be included.

If you are writing a story about the Three Little Pigs, let’s make a list of possible scenes for the story.

Momma and Poppa pig meet
Momma and Poppa Pig court (sharing slops, watching the rooster, taking a roll in the mud togehter)
Momma and Poppa Pig marry
Momma and Poppa Pig enjoy their marriage night (Anything from G to X rated!
Momma Pig discovers she is expecting
Momma Pig tells Poppa Pig he’s going to be a Daddy
The birth of the three babies.
The babyhood of the babies (first time they suckle, weight at one month, first time they eat solid food, first time they fight over slops)
The teenage years of the three pigs (fighting over slops, barnyard tricks, etc.)
Momma and Poppa Pig decide to kick them out of the house
Telling the three little pigs they must leave
Three Pigs decide which road each will take

And so on and so on.

Usually, the story just jumps in when the pigs leave the house. But you COULD do any of this back story as a scene. And we could give just as detailed a list for the actual story.

And that’s the technique. Make a list of POSSIBLE scenes.
As you do this, think about which scenes will give the best range of developing the story you want to tell, with the emphasis you want.

If you are stuck on what opening scene you should write, list the ones that are possible, given the story you want to tell. The richer the list the stronger the possibilities, the better.

If you can’t tell immediately which scenes will work, well, at least you have some places to start writing. Start working through the scenes until you find the ones that excite you. Where do the characters hurt the most? Where is the conflict sharpest? Which is the most unusual?

In short, which is the most dramatic choice?

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2 Comments
  • holly cupala
    April 16, 2012

    Ah! You just gave me an idea! A potentially epic idea! Ack. Now I have to write it. After I write this current book. Next book! Or maybe the one after that…but…yes. Thanks, Darcy!

  • Darcy Pattison
    April 16, 2012

    Holly–
    You’re welcome! If I only knew what it is I inspired. . .
    Darcy