The UnWritable Scene

Blink, blink, blink,

It’s the dreaded cursor, mocking you.

And it’s not because you don’t have what to write, but you just don’t want to. Every story has scenes like this. Some you don’t want to write because they’re hard, call for super attention to detail, and every word counts (every word always counts but some count more than others) Not giving advice for those scenes today.

I’m talking about the scenes that you don’t care about. The transitions in time and space, the reactions to the actions. They’re often boring to write.

And you know what, they’re boring to read too.

My simple suggestion. KILL THEM, or really, don’t even birth them.

Most often they’re not needed.

I’ve realized this in my own writing, when once I just wasn’t in the mood to write a scene, so I skipped to the next one I did want to write. Reviewing my work the next day I realized that it was fairly seamless, maybe it needed a transitional phrase, but that dreaded scene was no longer in the plans.

Wondering if the last one was a fluke, I tried this again with other stories. It wasn’t.

Sol Stein in his book “Stein on Writing” suggests listing all the scenes in your story from strongest to weakest and then simply cutting the bottom ranked one, thereby strengthening your story in one fell swoop.

When I first read this advice I thought it was nice but impractical, how do you just cut a scene and pretend everything that happened, well, didn’t. How does the rest of the story flow?

Often it was the weakest/boring/dreaded scene for a reason.

Possibly it had no clear goal to advance the plot.

Or the point was made better in previous scenes and this scene is a weak repetition.

Or like previously suggested, it was taffy pulled transition/reaction.

So next time you come across a scene you don’t feel like pouring the ink for - don’t.

You and your story will be better off for it.

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