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Skyrocketing my writing speed
As I chug away on Legend, book 3 on my Liminal Chronicles series, for NaNoWriMo, I’m trying something new this time around—scene sketches.
Everyone that uses them probably has their own version. But this is my sketch style. Feel free to borrow it. After I map out the general plot, I made a list for every scene with the setting, characters in the scene, how the scene will be entered and exited, a few sentences on what happens during the scene, and what senses to share with the readers.
Amy’s scene sketches: Setting, Characters, Entry, Exit, Middle, and Senses
In the past, I used only a plot outline and had to decide everything as I went. It was a slow process and I struggled to write, having to continually check that things vibed together as the book progressed. I could only keep track of about 20k-40k words worth of plot details in my head at a time.
With the sketch, the big things are decided beforehand. I can run with it and my brain isn’t overloaded. I was worried about it squashing my plantser (partial planning and partial pantsing) nature. While I’ve always loved exploratory writing, having a sketch is so much more freeing. I can easily focus on the fun details—the senses, the setting, etc. My writing speed has more than doubled and is increasing each day I write. This is the first time I have a decent chance at finishing NaNoWriMo.
If I’ve written about this setting before, just mentioning it is enough. But if it’s new, I find a picture or two and write down a few things I’d like the reader to know. It helps cure “white wall syndrome”.
In Legend, one of the settings is in a small, fictitious town called Nonogawa. So what makes the location stand out? For one, it’s population isn’t declining as fast as those around it. Notable in Japan. Two it has a Guardian to protect it. So these become hinted at details.
Just listing the characters I’ll be including helps me to not forget anyone. If my main character is accompanied by others, sometimes I forget to show the additional characters are there. Don’t make your readers wonder where a character came from or have them suddenly pop up in a scene unless you intend it.
Entry and Exit
I remember reading that we should enter and exit a scene while the scene is in progress to avoid over-narration. So picking my entry point before hand allows me to hit the ground running, moving toward the exit.
The exit should be a point where the reader will want to keep going. Did you have a cliffhanger? Or did the character have a question? Was a secret revealed that the characters have to deal with?
If you’d like more information on exiting scenes, I’ll recommend Fictionary’s list of ideas.
How are you going to move from the entrance to the exit? A few sentences or paragraphs can help you face that daunting blank page. It’s a start that should allow you to rev your writing engine and stomp on the gas because you know at least the gist of the route your taking as you drive for your reader companion. Your imagination can flow filling in the details and conversations.
As someone who has a hard time imagining while writing. Jotting down a few ideas to help draw the reader in with the senses saves my bacon. What might a Solarium feel like in winter? Perhaps, humid and warm. There might be water or frost on the glass. You might smell fresh earth and flowers in bloom. The burble of a small fountain could catch your character’s ear.
I hope this foray into scene sketches has been helpful!
Do you use them? If so what do you put in them? If not, are you intrigued enough to try them?
As I sign off, I’ll remind you to…
Be the Difference. Be extraordinary.
All the best,
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