Feeling the Love

There are days when I love being a writer more than I can say. There are also days when I just want to bang my head against something until all the desire to write is driven out.

Happily, today is one of the former, not the latter.

I’ve been working on revising a scene for a good week now, one that had some very lovely bits, pieces that I just adore…but that a had a fairly serious problem in the heart of it as well: There was nothing in the scene that made you wonder, “And then what happened?” Since it seems to me that storytelling is all about creating, then answering, that question, a scene that doesn’t provoke it is a scene with issues. Big ones.

What’s helping me fix it is something I recently figured out. One of the things a scene does is force its characters to make choices and those choices change the story, even if it’s only a little bit. In the case of the scene I’ve been working on, neither of my characters really had to make any choices, and nothing had really changed when the scene concluded. The story was spinning its wheels.

That was then. This is now.

Now things are changed. Now my POV character struggles. Now things have gotten worse for him. He entered the scene confident, sure of himself, ready to soothe someone else’s ruffled feathers. He leaves the scene uncertain and confused, the things he’d “known” no longer knowable. He’s in trouble now, and I think (I hope) someone else reading the scene will really want to know “What happens next?”

One of the things I like best about this scene is that it now feels as if I’ve begun where the trouble starts for this character. Whether or not he knows it, his feet are now on the path to an utterly transformed life. By the time the story ends, nothing will be the same for him; this scene is where that process begins.

Life is very good.

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