For the past two weeks, I have managed to find a few hours here and there to fatten up my new story although I have increased the word count only by a smidgeon. It hasn’t climbed much because most of my writing has consisted of adding review comments to paragraphs within each scene.
I start by splitting my manuscript into scenes and numbering them which took me about two days between my busy work-outside-the home schedule and other priorities that have cut into my writing time. Otherwise, this should only take a few hours.
After my scenes are split and numbered, I go through my handy-dandy index card file and flip through the revision and editing card bundles that I have accumulated and consolidated from writing professionals such as; Jami Gold, K.M. Weiland, Janice Hardy, Donald Maass, and James Scott Bell. (Memorize and familiarize yourself with these names!)
I take each scene and go through the card prompts where I make notes within my manuscript for added layers of internal conflict as well as external conflict. This part usually takes the most time but it is well worth it and to me it is fun and challenging. This step of the writing process is a great way to add layers to the plot and liven up the characters within their spaces and inside or outside their heads.
Janice Hardy from Fiction University recently posted an article titled, Do You Feel It? Writing With Emotional Layers. I read and re-read this post and transferred the prompts onto my note cards – her post is definitely something any writer can utilize.
Although, most of my scenes have what Janice Hardy informs, I still go through the individual scenes wondering if I can tone it up or tone it down, or tone it up then tone it down, and vice-versa. This is where I enjoy playing around with the possibilities even though I may have to cut a good portion of it later, or not. Just remember to stick with your plot.
Breaking the story into scenes after the first or second draft helps you focus exclusively on the characters and the setting they are in. You can see them interacting within the space more vividly, observe their body language, and engage one-on-one with their actions and reactions. It helps magnify their uniqueness.
Think of it this way.
Writing with emotional layers for each scene allows the writer to be both director and actor of their story.
The director is similar to the writer – adding props for the scenes, directing the actors within the setting and making sure the actors proceed according to the plot.
The actor is where the writer needs to become one with the character – they are the character. They channel into the character to absorb their individual personality, their goals, their emotions, their action and reaction within the setting.
Splitting scenes up and focusing on each of them with the hat of the director, then the actor, and back to the director is a way to guarantee an engaging story for the reader and that gives the writer the accomplishment they have worked so diligently for.
Studying the craft of writing from qualified professionals is imperative.
Since my first book, Attached, I have come a long way as a writer. The people I have mentioned in this post have helped improve my writing skills to better tell the story from deep inside and I mean really deep inside. I believe that a writer’s story comes from the soul more than just an idea from the mind when that story is written, or told, with as many as layers as the author can muster.
What about you? Do you have a certain writer or teacher of writing you follow and learn from? Tell us about it.