COW: Adapting Your Writing

I am behind on my ROW80 posting. I felt crappy yesterday, but it came on the heels of realizing something that had been so hard to understand. So, I’m feeling okay on missing the deadline. I don’t try to miss deadlines, I normally adapt myself and get things done earlier than later, but my allergies got hit so hard that between them and a migraine from Hades, I basically called yesterday quits. However, it also allowed me time to really sink in the lesson I figured out late Saturday night. 

Many people talk about scene and sequel, expecting people to just go AHA! Others will start tossing in MRUs (motivational reaction units) into the process, thinking that will explain the whole thing to people and again the AHA! bulb will go off and everywhere there will be a collective sigh of relief. People will get it. Uh, no. Not really. I realized for me, the problem stemmed from using terminology that is already used to describe something else. To me a scene is a component that makes up a chapter. So, saying scene and sequel and having them be the same and yet they’re not– you see where I’m going with this, don’t you? It took me a while with a friend (thank you Dawn Montgomery!) to work out why the hell none of the blogs, none of the articles, none of it made sense– even in the books. Though I got the gist of what they were speaking on– the terminology always set me back– and let me tell you– being a smart cookie– that’s saying something. 

So, we started taking other terms to it. We started like this: You have a Book. Books break down into Chapters. Chapters break down into scenes. Scenes are broken down into _________. This is where I think most people who talk scene and sequel get the rest of us confused. For me– it is where we get nitty gritty. I call them movements or even micro-scenes. Each is complete cause and effect upon itself that has a link to the next set. These micro-scenes link together to form a scene. The group of scenes then form your chapter, your chapters then form your book. Suddenly, my world took on this bright light and VOILA! Then Dawn mentioned MRUs. Dusk hit. I was like- huh? But as we went over it, I realized it’s another way of saying cause/effect= but with deeper meaning. 

See, one of the things many of us don’t realize– there is an order to how we react. Sometimes, it’ll be out of order– depending on the swiftness of what’s happening around us, but overall– there’s an order. Something happens (cause), then you have a series of effects (reactions)- they are feeling, reflex, rational action, speech. That’s the order they come in. When they don’t follow that order- you can tell something’s off. When you learned scene and sequel, they touch on this, but not in detail. But worse– they never tell you if you need this in the scene or the sequel. Honestly, it’s both. You can’t set something up without having it in order, so you need it both ways. So, the movement is like a wave, it slowly grows, then goes over, then crashes down. If there’s more ocean– it can rebuild, continuing onward so that it can grow, go over, and crash again, getting taller and taller. If it’s hitting the land, it can’t. But you see the pattern– it’s a tension setter or release. It helps you to know if the micro-scene is helping you ratchet the tension upwards or if this is reward segment, thus lightening the load of tension slightly for the reader. 

Let me show you an example: Doug’s hands trembled as he worked the bomb that sat before him (cause). One wrong move and it would be the last thing he ever did, not to mention his partner would never forgive him(feeling). His fingers felt stiff as cut blue wire.(rational action) A blip on the screen made him curse. “Shit! Not again!” (speech)

What’s nice is the way I’ve ended it, I now have a lead in for the next cause using the speech as the tie in. *does happy dance.* What got me for the longest time was this didn’t make up one whole scene. It’s a micro-scene. Because there is more to this scene than this moment in time. But the way people have described scene-sequel and other aspects, I didn’t get that. Now, I see that I can have my micro-scenes, build them up as needed and then put them together as one coherent scene. I have a happiness now. It’s huge to me. I get it now unlike the other times I’ve struggled. 



So on with ROW80 check in! I’ve not done bad with this past week. I’ve done about 5k with everything. I basically had to spend time relaxing and getting a new day job. Yeah. I got a job. It’ll play havoc with my writing, but I need income and I need health insurance. So, I do what I have to do. Plus side– I’m writing again now that I’ve gotten this scene-sequel thing fixed. I don’t feel so crapped out. Trust me, people were talking and I felt like an idiot. I have a thing about terminology crossing. I don’t like it. It makes it confusing and now with my ADD, it is even more important for things to be completely clear for me. So, I’m happy again. LOL At least for the moment. LOL So, my goal this week is to keep writing and to start my job on Thursday afternoon. Training both Thurs, Fri. It’ll be interesting to see how I handle it.