1. mcostas
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    mcostas New Member

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    how to develop scenes

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by mcostas, Dec 11, 2010.

    I have read about using a spreadsheet or index cards and was wondering what the best method would be. I'm hoping if I do this I can flesh out my story. I have a few scenes in my mind, and have written a few, but I still have a lot of gaps.

    My next step is to go over my storyline and do a brief paragraph on each scene. I can more easily find the gaps and see what needs to be developed. Also, I could have a field that contains notes about what needs to be achomplished in that scene. For example, in my opening scene, I introduce the main character, introduce a brief reason why they moved to that house, introduce what will be a big problem with living in this house. Maybe even have a few variations in case I have to tweak the story.

    I am unsure how one would go about using a spreadsheet program for this, do you make a field for a number, so you can change the order? Do you have a field for the summary? It seems like it would be hard to do on a computer if the summary was too large.

    Do you have pages for your scenes, then merely use the computer to organize them using an even smaller summary field?

    I hope this makes sense. I'm having problems with the mechanics of writing the story, I seem to be unable to just sit and write a story from beginning to end. I have an outline of sorts, and a few scenes in varous stages of completion. I need to develop more of my storyline and thought it would help if I organized my scenes somewhat.
     
  2. FrankABlissett
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    FrankABlissett Active Member

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    It won't be too helpful, but the answer really is "whatever works for you".

    Some use spreadsheets and timeline diagrams to outline their stories. Others use a simple synopsis and bullet points. Still others just start writing.

    Hopefully one of the more organized sort will give you some pointers, but ultimately it's sort of something you're probably going to end up developing largely on your own.

    -Frank
     
  3. Naiyn
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    Naiyn Contributing Member

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    It sounds like you've already got a decent foundation of what works for you reguarding organizing a story. If the mechanics of how to set it all up is your main problem, then you're in pretty good shape, actually.

    Don't get too bogged down in details of how to orgranize notes and ideas and such. A notepad, index cards, seperate files for diferent ellements etc... can all work equally well. As long as you've got something written somewhere, and you can find it and use it easily, you'll be just fine.

    I'd offer more help with the spreadsheet thing, but having me help with a spreadhsheet would be kind of like having a badger help you with calculus. :redface:
     
  4. Reggie
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    Reggie I Like 'Em hot "N Spicy Contributor

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    Well, when you write a scene for a chapter, I believe that you start out with the Goal first, which means what does the character wants. The Conflict, what is the obstacle that keeps the character from reaching that goal, and then the Dilemma, what are the consequences the character will face for not reaching that goal. The Disaster is the ultimate failure of the goal (this is basically like saying you can't rewind time to fix that problem). I’m not sure if this is how people really write a scene for their book, but I found this to be a bit easier to determine if the chapter has a conflict to it or not. I think I have an example for myself that I posted on the "Games" section.

    Today was Sunday, the only day that Beth could wash clothes, but they were missing that day.

    The Goal is that she wanted to wash clothes, but she could not find it.

    She worried herself as she searched everywhere for them, because they usually were in her bedroom, so her mom came into the living where she stood. She had enough of Beth violating her curfew, so she did something she would never do.

    This would be the Conflict That her mother got tired of her violating her curfew, so she decides to do something that she would never do.

    Beth walked outside to see her clothes sitting in the middle of the street. She knew that her time was coming already if she continued to party all night and drink at age 19.

    The Daster is that her mother threw her clothes outside, and the Dilemma is that she anticipates on kicking Beth out of the house.

    The opening scene also gives you a description of the POV character.

    Followed by the Scene, a book would probably have a Sequel (I don’t mean have a part 2 such as Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone and then the Chamber of Secrets). What I mean is what will Beth do after the Dilemma (that her mom is kicking her out the house). The sequel would start out with the Reaction, what would be the character’s first reaction after the Dilemma (since her mom might tell her to leave, Beth's Reaction is to apologize to her for staying up late and partying). The Reaction also denotes the feelings behind the POV, which is apologizing or maybe crying. And then after that, the character will face the Dilemma again, that Beth might pack her bags. The Decision would be that she may go to her friend’s house to stay until she can find her an apartment.

    Again, I'm not sure if this really works because I've never used it this way before, just thought it would probably give you some ideas on what to do to fill up the gaps of your chapter. From your standpoint, I think you're thinking too hard on putting your plot together. You seem to have a lot of dedication to make a good scene for your chapter, and that is good. The more you think about it, the better chances your book will turn out to be. I normally use a spreadsheet to help me out, although it's not the only approach I use to create a scene.
     
  5. JeffS65
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    JeffS65 Contributing Member

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    I can't imagine using a spreadsheet for a creative writing project. I'm an Excel junkie and I use it at work like there's no tomorrow but I couldn't think of anything more creativity sucking than opening up Excel to keep track.

    What I do is keep a running ideas page of snippits of thoughts for what I've been writing. Some have a sentence or two and others have been a page or more. I take these and organize them in to sections and generally slot them in the order I'm likely to use them.

    Since I spend much time thinking about what I'm going to write, I use most of it. So, organizing it in this manner helps me structure the future of my project.

    It's not exactly the most organized way of doing things but it makes more sense to have a fluid and changing structure that can insert in to the long form project/book and not be hindered by a specified outline and/or plotline from an Excel.

    Just me convoluted way, I guess...
     
  6. MetalRenard
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    MetalRenard Member

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    My own method is to outline a story through bullet points. This allows me to see a logical progression, to easily edit and add parts, to see if something fits in its place and it also forces me to constantly rethink things (which I like).
     
  7. Elgaisma
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    Elgaisma Contributing Member Contributor

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    I do when I am editing use a spreadsheet to keep the timeline in perspective - I do a summary of who is doing what, in each chapter. Mine is pen and paper in a notebook.

    However I don't use it for the writing the story. I develop a scene by writing it mostly. The characters show me where they want the story to go. Sometimes I don't even know a character exists until i write a scene so can't plan for it lol
     
  8. mcostas
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    mcostas New Member

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    Thanks for the ideas!
     

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