1. KRHolbrook
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    KRHolbrook Member

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    Scenes are not my friend

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by KRHolbrook, Nov 17, 2013.

    Hey all. I posted this in another writing community, and figured I'd ask the question here as well for different opinions and answers. :)

    Basically my problem with the scene I'm working on is the whole "what's at stake" for my character. I'm really not sure.

    He's in a psychologist's office, and it's his last day in the psych ward (three months are up, at least). The psychologist is actually the follower of both the gods truth and lies in one body, so he has multiple personalities. The part where his darker personality comes out is when he asks Rick if he knows why he's there.

    From that point I'm not sure where to go, except they're going to have a lot of conversations throughout, and I'm not sure if there's even a stake for Rick.

    Does anyone have a certain process on how to come up with a stake for a character in a scene, when it seems like there is none?
     
  2. A.M.P.
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    A.M.P. People Buy My Books for the Bio Photo Supporter Contributor

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    Sounds just like you don't know your own story all that well if you don't know why you're writing this scene.
    I mean, how could you not know what's at stake for the MC. You should have more or less a good idea of where you want to lead your MC.
     
  3. KRHolbrook
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    KRHolbrook Member

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    I'm up to fifteen chapters in it, and I know the whole story and most of every other scene I've written out there as well as the ones that aren't yet written, but this one is eluding me at the moment. The scene I'm writing is one that's in the center of all the other scenes. I skipped it, and now I'm going back to writing it. :)
     
  4. A.M.P.
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    A.M.P. People Buy My Books for the Bio Photo Supporter Contributor

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    Then I'm even more confused.
    If you've already went past this scene as you worked on future scenes, you already know the desired outcome of that scene.
    So, you just need to know how to move through it but you don't know if there is a stake for the MC.
    If you've written the future scenes, does that scene affect anything for the MC or could have if it went the other way?
     
  5. KRHolbrook
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    KRHolbrook Member

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    The desired outcome...basically, he IS going to leave the psych ward, but not the easy way. He's going to confront multiple people, and there's a kind of time gap between this scene and another with a follower of the god of lust. In that scene, he manages to escape the lust he feels for her and his true desire of finding his daughter. I'm not sure if there's a scene following this one is one of my problems. Another is I'm not quite sure what the psychologist is getting at during the session.

    So yeah, my problem is moving through the scene. I guess the stake is leaving the psych ward today, and by doing hat he has to fake like he's no longer thinking of revenge on his ex-wife and taking his daughter away. But...I don't know. I could still go that route, and it would activate the liar side of the psychologist. Perhaps my problem was figuring out how Rick was going to fake out the psychologist by saying he was better when the psychologist was initially going to start talking about the gods Rick doesn't know about.

    The questions you've posed have helped me think about it better. Sometimes it's the right question that pushes me to think the right way.
     
  6. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    While it's true that every scene must serve a purpose, I wouldn't get obsessed over the character's stake in every scene.

    In general, beware of rigid formulas and writing systems. If a scene advances the story or contributes to the development of a character, it's a good scene.
     
    Last edited: Nov 17, 2013
  7. GingerCoffee
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    "Wired for Story" is as good reference for what you are asking if you can find a copy and the time to read it.
     
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  8. A.M.P.
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    I'm glad some good came out of my barrage of questions.
    Sorry if I sounded rude, I just tend not to walk on eggshells all the time.
     
  9. JayG
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    JayG Banned Contributor

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    It sounds as if you're defining a scene as the action in any one setting. That's true for stage and screen, but not on the page. Any scene has certain elements. The protagonist enters with a goal that the reader is quickly aware of. Something will happen to interfere with that and the protagonist will try to resolve the problem. It might require a new scene goal, but might not. In any case, tension has just entered.

    The protagonist will continue to try to control their environment, but nothing seems to go right and the situation worsens and the tension continues to rise. This can happen over days and in multiple locations, but the protagonist can't either let go or resolve the problem. Obviously, this can't go on or the tension will reach lethal levels, so we end the scene with the protagonist forced to leave the field, ending the scene and setting up for the next one.

    The action in the office may be only the beginning of the scene.
     
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  10. ChickenFreak
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    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    Rick is in the psych ward. I assume, then, that what's at stake is that he wants out. I realize that that may feel too simple, but often the simple works.
     
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  11. KRHolbrook
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    KRHolbrook Member

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    This was it, really. I was trying to think too big on everything and wasn't looking at the most simplistic answer possible. :)
     

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