Keys turn. Keys twist. Keys open. Keys lock. Key scenes can act as a turning point in a storyline. They can be the high points, low points, or the point in which the curtain closes to end a scene. Mr. Ray recommends writing your book in three acts, following Aristotle’s advice. Have a beginning, middle, and end. Your storyline moves along a rising line until it hits its pinnacle point, or the climax. Each scene on the way up should add to the power of the climax.
Key scenes give you pace, turning points, and possible twists in your story. Yes, you write these scenes the way you would any other- by plotting. Write out the points and key moments. Put them together in a way that will make the story powerful. How do we do this? Good question. But first…
COFFEE. My cuppa has run dry and a nibble is required. As you can assume, my diet went right out the window when Pandemic 2020 settled over the world. Haven’t overly over done it but I haven’t been as picky about what I stuff in my gob. I randomly got off the couch last night at around eight and made an oatmeal cake. Why? I had the ingredients and we all LOVE it. Another reason I haven’t worn real pants in over a month. Geesh. So, run along and fill your cuppa and grab yourself a nibble. No, I am not having cake, thank you very much. I will stick with…cheese. I will have a chunk of extra sharp cheddar cuz it’s delicious.
Gather on the reading rug and pull out your copy of The Weekend Novelist by Robert J. Ray and join me on page 136.
Guidelines for Plotting with Key Scenes
To make life a bit easier- sketch out an opening scene, a possible end scene, and what the catharsis is. Knowing how your story might end will open the flood gates of a storyline that will get you to the desired conclusion. As you put your framework in place, stick tight to your characters and what motivates them. What do they want- the key word being want. What moves them in the direction of the climax? What gets them to the destination at the end of the book? This is what will move your story.
The middle of your journey can be bumpier and radical in its movements. The key scenes will hold it on track towards the ending, but this is where you can play with your characters and events a bit more. It’s the chaos and fun stuff. Enjoy the ride.
Let’s Pump Pencil Lead
- Scenes for your novel: jot down a dozen scenes for your novel. Leave some space between each scene. Once you finish your quick list, go back, and add some details to expand on the scenes. Don’t forget to use the 5 senses.
- Key Scenes for Your Novel: From the list you created, select the half that feels strong enough to become twists, turns, and turning points. For each, write a summary of the action needed for these scenes to play out.
- Writing a Key Scene: From your smaller list, pick the one scene that screams to be written. Sketch it out. Write the bits and pieces. Put it together like a puzzle.
Aristotle’s incline will be mentioned from time to time so let’s take a look at it, so we are prepared. This is a line that moves from left to right, through the three acts we discussed earlier, until it reaches a climax. This is the beginning, middle, and end image. Now, most don’t stick to the straight line. I don’t, but I like to do my own thing. You decide if your story fits.
Don’t sweat it if you don’t have all the points in place just yet. We are just trying to get the supplies together to build that foundation and framework.
Or, one of my favorite sayings for writing is…
Polish your sparkle and keep twirling.
Find joy. Be joy. Enjoy.
I’m always looking for new friends!
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