Transitional scenes

Image courtesy of Your Name

Lately I feel like all my stories have been stuck in transitional scenes. The main characters aren’t there yet, but they’re on their way….to wherever there is. They know what’s going on and what they need to do, but it feels like they’re spending far too much time planning and not enough time doing. [I am well aware that this somewhat mirrors my life at times, thank you very much. It’s a lifelong habit that’s harder to break than you think.] [ANYWAY.]

The other day it got so bad that I finally called it for the scene I was working on for Project A: it was just taking way too damn long for it all to unfold, so I just stopped the scene cold. And in a move I rarely take, I left bracketed ‘fix it later’ notes, including the exact points I needed to make…and left it as is. I’ve only done a “leave it and fix it later” once before, with Diwa & Kaffi, because I really didn’t want to spend far too much time in the same spot.

Ironically, the next scene I wrote was in fact transitional, but it was short and purposeful. A character needed to report to a higher-up while also pulling off some Furtive Spy-Type Stuff. It was concise, always moving forward, and cleared the way for future events. And it only lasted maybe about three pages. Win!

One reason I sometimes get stuck in these transitional scenes is lack of planning. Sometimes the focus is more on getting daily words done than it is getting the scene done, and that never bodes well, because then what I write is an overthought rambling mess. But it goes the other way, too: sometimes I want to take my time getting to the point I need to hit (for pacing’s sake) and end up taking too much time getting there. I think it was a bit of both this time out.

So, how to combat it? Well, the easiest way is to do what I’d done: [WRITE THIS BIT LATER.] It’ll save me time, brainspace, and avoid frustration later on. Most of the time I have a good idea of what needs to be there, but my brain hasn’t quite achieved how to make it work yet. That’s where my Repeated Reread Process also comes in: I know the problem scene is coming, plus I’ll be able to see what leads up to it, and therefore know how to handle it better.

Right now the beginning chapters of Project A are a terrible mess, but they’re not irredeemable. I just need to make a few fixes and updates is all. And I’ll rewrite all that later, too. Right now I’d rather continue with the path I’d finally corrected and go from there, because that is where my brain needs to be.

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