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You’re writing your novel in 30 days. Butt in chair. Music is playing in the background, the kind of tune that fits the mood of your scene. You’re in the groove, ready to reach your 1667 word goal for the day, you’re at the beginning of a scene–the scene you couldn’t wait to write.
And all of a sudden you come to a screeching halt because you have three different possible scene scenarios. Which one should you choose?
My advice: Pick one.
It won’t matter. If your purpose is to write a fast draft of the novel, and get it all down in 30 days, your goal should be work count–NOT perfection.
My good friend and writer, JANELLE LEONARD, is amazing. Besides having three small boys, she writes. We “bounce” back and forth on FB’s instant message as often as time will allow. (When we “bounce,” we brainstorm.) She’ll ask me often–which scenario should I go with? A? B? or C? Most of the time I’m stumped because all three scenarios seem stellar. (How does she do that?) I encourage her, read through each of her scenes, and help her choose one.
Does that mean my opinion is the right one? Quick answer: NO!
I’ve been thinking a lot about this. Am I giving her the right advice? She’s in the rewrite phase. That’s different than the FAST DRAFT phase. Right? Yes, but I still believe that for each EARLY phase the best thing to do is pick one scenario and make notes at the beginning of each scene about the other possibilities. That way, when she’s rewritten, or written, the entire novel all the way through, she can go back and read it. If something doesn’t ring true, or if a scene doesn’t “spark” the way she wants it to she can choose an alternative LATER.
Again, the key to writing a FAST DRAFT is to keep going. Don’t stop. There’s nothing wrong with making yourself notes and giving yourself permission to change your mind later. Write each scenario and leave yourself a note.
How do you handle different scene scenarios? How do you choose which path to take?