Writer of Soul-Searching Snark

Check out how my sisters write scenes

Sisterhood of the Traveling Pen

This week’s question is by Pamela Foster:

Explain your process when you sit down to write a scene.  Do you enter into the mind of your character?  Picture the setting?  Fall into a trance? How do you turn pictures, scenes, in your head into words on paper that call forth images in the mind of your reader?

PAM:  I start with a lesson plan.  (That teaching credential pays off after all)  What do I want to happen in the scene?  How am I moving the action forward or developing the character?  Then, when I have a general idea of what I want the scene to accomplish, I move on to specifics.

First, I decide on the place the scene will take place.  Once I’ve figured that out, I move on to asking what would be the smells in this scene.  I’m a great believer in scent as…

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  1. When I write a scene, because I write historical fiction, I do a lot of research prior to sitting down to write. I get to know as much about what the scene and take copious notes bought things that may be in the scene. I then write the bare bones of the scene, where it is, location, and how it will forward the story. I then write the dialog. I then picture the scene in my mind and look at the details of the scene. Next I go through the scene again. I look at the scene through the eyes of all of the characters, and try to understand each person’s motive for being in the scene. Finally I return to the POV character and rewrite the scene from that character’s viewpoint. The POV character notices sometimes notices the other characters’ reactions, sometimes not, but by this time the scene has come alive.

    • Wow. Donna. that’s quite the process. It sounds like a very logical and creative (is it possible to have both?) way of approaching the scene. With historicals you have an added element of fact to weave into the story. I bet that adds another challenge on top of everything else a writer has to do. I admire folks who write historical fiction. I always get wrapped up in the research and never write the story. 🙂

  2. I sit up straight, take a deep breath, close my eyes and type away! Or nap if the ideas aren’t flowing. 😉

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