1. Featheriel
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    Featheriel New Member

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    How to move to the next scene

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by Featheriel, Oct 7, 2013.

    I know that this looks retarded, but...

    How do start to write a book?
    I dared to start writting a story I have had in my mind for years, but I wrote about 3 pages and blocked.
    I am quite perfectionist, and I get confused often, so I wanted to ask for some advice.
    my questions are: How do you divide you book? by chapters, or there are other ways?
    and how do you move on to the next scene?

    I mean, inside each chapter, you have many scenes betweens the characters. I don't know exactly how to choose them and place them the best way. I usually make a lot of notes separately and don't know exactly how to join them. In this moment I am in the very first scene of the story, and I don't know how long it should be, where I should stop and how to move to the next one. My mind is a mess with so many ideas comming!

    Thanks in advance.
     
  2. Youniquee
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    Youniquee (◡‿◡✿) Contributor

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    Ahhh, I think you're overthinking a bit too much!

    First of all, I think you should do a bit of reading and see how other books do it. So go to a library when you have time and pick up a book that sounds interesting. It will help.

    Stop thinking about it so much and write. There is no set standard how long a scene should be! Scenes are can stop at mere full stop and then a new paragraph is starter. Or a 'scene break' using #### (That's what I do anyway, correct me if I'm wrong) for semi big time skips or a big scene change. Don't worry about getting it right the first time because you're probably going to write that first scene a million times after this. So for now, just enjoy the feeling of getting this story out and on the page.

    Hope this helped. :)

    p.s some people may be offended by your use of 'retarded'....
     
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  3. Darrell Standing
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    Darrell Standing Member

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    Hi. I just joined here to get advice myself and am just sort of learning. But you just ahve to start off small and do it piece by piece from what I know....scenes - one at a time then chapters...
     
  4. Keitsumah
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    Keitsumah The Dream-Walker Contributor

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    I divide my book in chapters, aiming for about ten pages each (but usually go over). As for scenes, yes that is quite the challenge, so you will want to practice transition stages. Scenes can be as long as they need to be, depending on what kind of scene they are and how important they are in the overall story. Now, you may just be over thinking it, but nonetheless ill try to help.

    In my point of view, there are two kinds of scene changes: abrupt and gradual as i call them. Here are some examples:

    Abrupt:
    The very first scene in my book introduces the main character lying in the rafters of an abandoned watchtower, waiting for her brother to come back from hunting and frustrated that she couldn't have gone with him. She begins thinking of how she's going to show him (aka, get even) and slips off into a daydream where she's hunting a deer. Said daydream is interrupted right before she fires at the deer because her brother has come back and is calling for her. She ends up missing, then gets frustrated and is about to give her brother a tongue-lashing when she sees that he has a deer.

    *ding!* scene transition. Begin by talking with brother and then move on to the next scene.

    Gradual:
    Another scene in my book involves the build-up to a battle, then continues on to said battle. (just so no one is confused: these characters are wolves, not humans like the above characters) One of the main characters is tracking a supposed enemy (when it is actually a girl he helped escape two years before, and he recognizes her scent), when another of the trackers begins to show signs of aggression and gradually grows more and more cocky just because the main character is smart enough not to start a fight when either one of them could end up seriously injured in the middle of nowhere. Still, the other wolf continues to challenge the main character more and more persistently, and then begins to insult him. It is only after the other wolf mentions the girl they are tracking that the main character snaps and lashes out, as he is secretly protective of her and was only trying to prevent her from being discovered.

    Overall, you saw the fight coming, so you begin with the initial attack on the next paragraph, and thus you have a gradual transition into the next scene.

    Hope this helps!
     
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  5. A.M.P.
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    A.M.P. People Buy My Books for the Bio Photo Supporter Contributor

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    Dividing a book is pretty simple for the most part, depending on what you need to divide.

    Usually a chapter encompasses a major scene which is the entire point of that chapter such as the hero goes to the castle to learn his quest. Then, you'd change chapters for the first chapter of the adventuring.
    Something of the sort.

    You can also have multiple scenes in a single chapter that are separated with time passing or character PoV, the later having to be carefully done as to not confused the latter.

    Basically, when you begin writing a chapter or whatever; answer this question "What am I telling the reader right now?" And your answer will be what you write.

    After, ask "Did I tell the reader what I wanted to?" If yes, continue to ask "What does that lead to?" and you'd continue with a new scene or a transition.

    Many authors with multiple characters simply divide chapters with each one having their own PoV.
    So chapter 1 would be all about MC1 and his PoV, while chapter 2 would be MC2's PoV.

    If this is your first draft, or first time ever writing, do not bother with stressing length. Length is what slows and kills many attempts at writing.
    Just write what you need to make your story flow. When you begin revising, then you fix things and lengthen things accordingly if the scenes need more emphasis.

    I've seen and read chapters that were 1 page long.
    I've seen some over 90 pages.

    It doesn't matter the length so long as everything that you need is in.
     
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  6. Featheriel
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    Featheriel New Member

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    Thanks a lot everyone!
    I'm putting your advices into notes. :)
    My problem is that my story has 3 main characters. I choosed one of those three to begin telling the story.
    I'm not sure yet if the other two will also have voice in the story, but my problem is that this character I choosed to be the "author", might not have an adult enough vision for some more mature and unfortunate scenes to come, since this is a very strong story. Yet I cannot imagine any other character telling it.
    I'm having also some problems with the scenes due to that. I know, I overthink a lot.
    I'm sure there's a solution for that, but not sure which in this moment.
     
  7. DanM
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    DanM Member

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    Seems to me that the best advice has already been given: "I think you should do a bit of reading and see how other books do it."

    Alth0ugh I'd change one word in that: a 'bit' to a 'lot'

    You may find that fast-paced books (eg thrillers) have shorter chapters, whereas sprawling novels about three generations of a family have chapters that seem to go on forever.

    There are conventions, and maybe expectations, depending on what you are writing - but don't feel confined by that.

    From a technical point of view, Keitsumah has some good things to say, and you may want to look at some other writing craft books for how to transition smoothly between chapters and scenes.
     
  8. A.M.P.
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    A.M.P. People Buy My Books for the Bio Photo Supporter Contributor

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    Even children need to grow up and grasp situations that we would normally expect to be beyond them.

    I've often noticed that in many books, the 8-14 year old kids seem to be a lot smarter than I would give to them IRL.
    Maybe the times were different and children had to smarten up early, but more the most part I can only imagine real kids failing horribly at that age.

    Perhaps you just need to let your MC grow up during the story?
     
  9. Featheriel
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    Featheriel New Member

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    DanM,
    I read a lot, and I should try some new books. But I usually don't like to do it when I am about to write - I don't want to be too much influenced by other stories than my own. I usually use music more and I observe a lot in real life, I try to absorb everything such as how people react to each others, events of life and the things that most affect us as humans. That's where I take most of my inspiration usually.

    A.M.P,

    My character in question is a child, closer to puberty, it is very intelligent and perceptive, however it is very innocent/pure. It will pass for many terrible events. I want it to transmit the reader the vision of someone who never loses the pureness of spirit, even after all that, but I also don't want that the reader feels like this character looks adult somehow.
    I don't know if I'm explainning myself clearly. :p
     
  10. JayG
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    JayG Banned Contributor

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    Unfortunately, there is no simple answer because it's a function of the structure of a scene, and how scenes fit together. And that's not something you can learn in a day or a week, because story is easy. Writing well enough to make the reader have to turn the page is a bitch, and a necessary skill.

    So far as chapter breaks the general answer is that they often come at a plot turning point, a place where the reader will say, "Oh my...now what do we do?" It alsocan come where the protagonist must take a break, for a nap, or research, etc.

    But that aside, here's the thing. While everyone here is sincere, helpful, and shares your interest, some of us are knowledgeable, some making it up as we go, and some, adrift and lost. The problem is, you have no way to tell which a given person is. You don't know me, so what I just said above about chapter endings might be absolutely accurate or pure bullshit—even if it seems to make sense, because as they say, "It seemed to make sense at the time." If you had the knowledge to tell if the advice was accurate you wouldn't need to ask.

    The people here are invaluable as sounding boards, first readers, and more. But why not go to the pros, first, to get a good understanding of the basic issues that weren't covered in our primary education? I offer three choices:

    Debra Dixon's, GMC: Goal Motivation and Conflict: a warm easy read that covers pretty much all of the issues of composition for the printed word, and the elements of what makes up a scene and a story. If it has a fault it's that it doesn't go as deeply into the issues as others.

    Swight Swain's, Techniques of the Selling Writer: It's the best I've found. He makes everything clear and covers it all, to the depth that you would expect from a college professor. His "fault" is that he does go to great depth. Some people find it dry at times.

    Jack Bickham's, Elements of Fiction Writing - Scene & Structure: It's very close to Swain's book (they taught together) One advantage is that many free library systems have a copy. And free is always good.
     
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  11. DeathandGrim
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    DeathandGrim Contributing Member

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    My best advice is just start writing. There is no right or wrong process to writing.
     
  12. Featheriel
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    Featheriel New Member

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    JayG,
    Thank you.
    I think I will purchase one of the last two books. I'm really needing a help from an experienced writer.
    I wonder something very often: there are some writers who seem to have the gift and write very well with no help,
    and others that need to study and improve. This bores me a little because I had the gift, but seem to have lost it.
    I never wrote a book(or at least a complete one), this will be the first one. But the fact is that I already started several short stories
    and people who read them kept on asking for more, but now I'm in that situation where I truly need, want to start this book(and eventually finish it!),
    and I feel like I'm even afraid of the paper sheets!
    I guess I need to give it some tries and see how it goes.
     
  13. Tara
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    Tara Contributing Member

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    If something terrible happens it will affect someone no matter how old this person is, but a person can be upset and still have faith in the world. If a child experiences certain things (s)he will also grow up in a way; learn something form it, understand something they didn't understand before, especially if this child is intelligent and perceptive, as you put it.

    Need a little of a personal story to help you with this one? When I was 11 years old my father died (after fighting cancer for over 18 years). Of course I was upset at the time, -I had seen people die before, but I didn't fully understand what it meant until that moment- but I learnt to deal with it rather quickly; I didn't lose faith in everything, I wasn't mentally and adult all of a sudden, I was just a kid who had lost a parent.
    As far as I remember I was still a happy child, I still had faith in the world and I still believed things would be allright, I just came to realize things don't last forever. In fact I think realizing things don't last forever made me enjoy the little things even more than I already did. Because something bad had happened to me I realized how lucky I was to have the good things.
    Had my father lived for another 5 or 10 years then I would have thought life was unfair, I would be overthinking, wondering "what if", because that's what grown-ups tend to do. I don't think children can think that way, simply because they're too "innocent" to feel that way.

    I guess the point in my story is this: if you want your character to still be innocent despite what has happened to him/her you should not do this by trying to keep him/her the same through the entire story, because that's just not realistic. Instead make use of the fact that children are naturally innocent and optimistic beings.
    And last last but (certainly) not least: innocence is not the same thing as ignorance, a good examplre of this is a stereotype modern teenage girl: they know very little about reality and they are not mature at all, but they are as far away from innocent as a person can possibly be.

    Good luck with the story
     
  14. jazzabel
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    jazzabel Contributing Member Contributor

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    If you are a perfectionist, like me, you'll need a system, or a structure, to work from if you wnt to attempt a novel. I can write short stories and novellas by just sitting down and seeing where the inspiration takes ne, but a novel-length story will profit enormously, in my opinion, from careful planning. If you don't want to have to do massive re-writes in your second draft, that is.

    I spend quite a bit of time planning my books, and by the time I sit down to write, I'd have figured out the string of scenes that get me from the beginning to the end. As far as the dynamic of incorporating the scenes into a cohesive narrative, I found mastering the concepts of 'scene and sequel' were invaluable to me. I thoroughly recommend "Scene and Structure' by Bickham. It's dry but really illuminating.
     
  15. jannert
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    jannert Contributing Member Supporter Contributor

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    That's it, in a nutshell, really. This is how to build chapters and scenes. What am I telling the reader? What does that lead to? Excellent and disarmingly simple advice.
     
  16. A.M.P.
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    A.M.P. People Buy My Books for the Bio Photo Supporter Contributor

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    Aw, thank you.
    I do my best to give good advice.

    It's something I learned long ago from god knows where.
    Someone was telling how you can easily write scenes or sections that have no use and need to be cut out to keep the interest and flow of the story going.
     
  17. Featheriel
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    Featheriel New Member

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    Tara,
    thank you so much for sharing your personal story.
    It opened my eyes in something; maybe I'm not creating this character realistically enough. This story I'm making is mostly realistic, but it has a fantasy side. Maybe I need to make this character not so perfect, but more human.
    Maybe this is one thing that is making my writing so difficult... I must work more in my characters personality first than in the scenes.
     
  18. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    There are a thousand different styles, no one style fits all. I think the most important thing is to know what you want to write about: exciting fantasy, social injustice, coming of age, the list is endless and not necessarily (but sometimes very) important except as a guiding light.

    What worked for me was to write the whole story out, but quickly. In some places I had chapters and in others I had summaries and still others were only outlined. But I got the whole gist down.

    Then I started writing the actual story. I got feedback and used it to begin learning what I was actually doing. Quite a bit of the original story is now unrecognizable. But the quality of my writing improved very quickly and I'm happier than ever with what I've written so far.

    I never let it stop me that I haven't figured something out. I just soldier past it and come back to it later. That was especially true with trying to find the right opening and how to put important backstory in. As the story developed, those questions answered themselves.

    Now the advice I get is more about adding a different emotion to a scene and not at all about 'show, don't tell'. I keep pulling the story back to the original goal I originally had for it and that keeps the story from straying and rambling.
     
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  19. jannert
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    jannert Contributing Member Supporter Contributor

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    Yes. That.
     
  20. Tesoro
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    Tesoro Contributing Member Contributor

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    I think what he meant was look at other books to see how they're structured, not look at the actual story. You can learn a lot about different ways to organize your story by looking at how others have done it and which works better for you. I'm sure it won't influence your _story_ at all.
     
  21. Featheriel
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    Featheriel New Member

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    I've been trying to write but I seem blocked. I wrote the first scene but now I'm not sure how to move to another, or which would be the scene I should write next. This is quite painful and crushes my mind because I want to write so badly and then I just seem frozen when I'm about to do it.
     
  22. TLK
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    TLK Active Member

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    You don't have to write a story chronologically. Nothing's stopping you from writing it in any order you like. Write it from the end to the beginning if you want.

    It's not 100% relevant but in an EPQ (basically an academic essay) I wrote up recently, I wrote it piece by piece. I selected one bit of info I wanted to touch upon, wrote about it. Then moved over to the next bit of info and repeated the process. At the end I was left with several paragraphs or sections and I just copy and pasted them around until I found an order I was happy with.

    So, write up the chapters in which you know what will happen. These could end up being chapters 1, 15 and 24 or 5, 17 and 30, it makes no difference. Try putting them in some kind of order, give yourself a framework of the story you're writing. You'll be left with something along the lines of "Oh so my characters are here in place A, then next they're in place B and have met character X, then they're in place C, then finally they're back in place A but character Y isn't there because he died". Or something like that. All that remains is to fill the gaps. So, for example, how have your characters got from A to B, and how have they met character Y? Possible solutions vary wildly depending on your story, but you should be able to come up with some ideas.

    If you don't like those original ideas, then that's fine. It's highly unlikely you'll be completely happy with your first draft anyway. So re-write those gaps if you need to. You may find that you actually like the gaps better and think your original scenes are better. The long and short of it is that you'll never know until you've got words down on paper (or screen). So give it a go, and see where things take you.
     
  23. Featheriel
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    Featheriel New Member

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    TLK, thank you.
    I feel very forlorn writing the story from the begining. It seems odd, and I just block. My problem is probably that I overthink too much about every single detail, instead of relaxing a bit. I already thought about that; writing random scenes or chapters instead of following an order. I must try it.
    I wonder, is the begining of the book the most difficult part to write? have you guys gone through the same situation?
     
  24. TLK
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    TLK Active Member

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    Well, personally, I find its those "gaps" I mentioned that are hardest to write, though I've heard of several people who struggle to get a story of the ground. Personally, I find the beginning quite easy to write. It varies from person to person, really.
     
  25. jannert
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    jannert Contributing Member Supporter Contributor

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    I agree with what @JayG said earlier, about consulting expert's books on learning to write. They are invaluable. By all means check out the ones he's suggested.

    I would suggest, however, that you also start writing. Now. Don't worry overmuch. Just start writing and see what develops.

    Once you get going, you'll have a lot better idea of what the process is like; the advice these books give will make more sense, and you'll already see the need for some of the tips they suggest.

    I would say writing and learning to write should happen at the same, despite how corky that sounds! You'll learn a lot from making your own mistakes, once you learn to recognise them.
     

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