One of the greatest gifts I’ve experienced in my writing is when my characters take over. They start doing things I never anticipated. They knock around in my head having conversations and all I can do is eavesdrop.
And then I have to figure out how these things work together – a great scene, no matter how awesome, has to fit into the overall story arc.
Sometimes these hijacked scenes feel dumped in and irrelevant. For me, as the writer, the purpose may simply be getting to know my characters and setting better – I truly believe all deleted pages are with you as you write the next one – but sometimes these scenes feel so deeply important that everything else has to be rearranged to make room.
In order to avoid having my story turn episodic – to be a series of unrelated events – I have to keep asking WHY? And for each scene, I should be able to explain its relevance with BECAUSE…
I often have to go backwards to support great scenes – to establish the WHY.
Don’t let your characters off the hook with a sassy “Because I said so!” Make them admit their motivations.
Sarah Wones Tomp
WRITING ON THE SIDEWALK