1. FlareWarrior
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    FlareWarrior Member

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    You have two ideas on how a scene can go down. How do you choose?

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by FlareWarrior, Jun 1, 2014.

    I seem to run into this a lot! Reaching a point in a story where you can write something two ways is kind of cool, but it's hard to decide on one - especially when you like both! Does this happen to anyone else? Do you write both and pick afterword or do something else?
     
  2. Ulramar
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    Ulramar Contributing Member Contributor

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    I write both. ALWAYS write both. Usually, the intro/conclusion is usually the same with a different climax so doing both methods won't hold me back. Then, I carry on with it. At the end I decide which is better. If both suck, I rewrite the scene.
     
  3. Alesia
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    Alesia Pen names: AJ Connor, Carey Connolly Contributor

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    I write both, then see how each works out. Usually I end up cutting, pasting, etc... and both versions melt into one.
     
  4. Ulramar
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    Ulramar Contributing Member Contributor

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    And if you go with one and not the other, under NO circumstances do you delete the unused one. EVER.

    Just making that clear. I made that mistake and I still regret it. The rewritten version from my memory wasn't as good as I remembered the original.
     
  5. Carthonn
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    Carthonn Active Member

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    Absolutely. When I don't want to use something in a story I use the strike through.
     
  6. shadowwalker
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    shadowwalker Contributing Member Contributor

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    I typically just sit and let the scenarios play out in my head for a little bit - see which one catches my fancy most, has the most potential, and seems to fit with the already written story best. I don't analyze them too much, and I never write them down. If I really like the idea that I don't use, I'll jot down some notes for use elsewhere, and then get back to the story at hand.
     
  7. Motley
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    Motley Active Member

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    I make sure that both ideas serve the story instead of my personal interests and, if so, then I write both like everyone said. I have had instances where the scene I wanted to write was more for my taste than what worked in the overall story.
     
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  8. EdFromNY
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    EdFromNY Hope to improve with age Supporter Contributor

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    I don't think I've ever felt equally about two different ways to write a scene before I wrote it. I will sometimes write a scene, then realize it's wrong for some reason and going back and write it over. I've had situations in which I realized a scene worked better from another character's POV, with a different outcome or with a different consequence to the outcome as written (that needed to be foreshadowed in the scene). In my current project, I'm rewriting the ending, giving it a very different flavor.

    In fact, I'd best stop procrastinating and get back to it. :oops:
     
  9. minstrel
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    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Staff Supporter Contributor

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    I write both. I find that when you actually write the thing, it often comes out different from the way you expected. So I can't really choose between the two until I see them both written out in full.

    Of course, the version that winds up in the finished story usually turns out to be some kind of combination of the two. Maybe not in the direction it went, but more in terms of tone, or sometimes structure. For example, I recently wrote a novelette in which the MC goes to a special place on a strange planet and has a great experience there. The secondary MC goes next, but dies. I originally wrote the death scene, but found out that, in all major aspects, it was simply a rehash of the first guy's trip. The only difference was the death at the end - the last paragraph, in other words. I would up writing an utterly new scene about the autopsy on the body, rather than just the rehash of the trip. It felt a bit weird to do that, because that death is one of the central events in the story and I moved it offstage. The whole story, though, works better structurally because of that.
     
  10. peachalulu
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    peachalulu Contributing Member Reviewer Contributor

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    I go with the most different or contrary wise the most plain because the most plain could make the most sense for that moment - and when I need a twist - I go with the most weird.

    Usually I sit back and daydream a bit to see how it could go and work out. I've occasionally wrote two scenes but not always. I usually go by instinct - even if the idea comes out of thin air it usually makes the story better.
     
  11. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    One approach is to choose the one that complicates your characters' lives the most.
     
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  12. Bjørnar Munkerud
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    Bjørnar Munkerud Contributing Member

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    You could make it into a choose-your-own-adventure. :p

    On a more serious note, I don't really understand why this differs from any of the other decision-making processes that go into writing fiction. It's just a coincidence, and possibly quite bad luck, to end up with two seemingly equally appropriate possible choices. In reality there are billions of different ways each scene could be and turn out, and all of that, and this, is your job, and problem, to fix by deciding on one version of every scene in your story.

    I personally never write two versions of the same scene and choose, instead I decide beforehand and as I go and go back and edit later when necessary, but I don't think the former method is bad; it might work for you, and I, for all I know, might end up using it one day.

    My advice is simply to think long and hard about the scene beforehand and settling on one. You could write down the pros and cons of each if you want. There had to be some benefits and downsides to each over the other. What fits best with the characters' personalities? What's the most interesting? What's the most realistic? And so on. You could even have someone else read or just hear the ideas for each candidate and hear what they think. Also remember that sometimes you have to make some tough decisions: neither decision are likely to be perfect, there might be some things that only fit the story if you do the scene one way, but you have to come to a decision.
     
  13. Blueshift
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    Blueshift Member

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    I absolutely agree with this. I deleted a chapter once and I wish I'd kept it, because I know it would have been of use... now at least!
     
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