Monday, August 9, 2010

Time to Rearange

Ah... The trials and tribulations of the ever persistent need for perfection.
Note to self:
Don’t forget to move scene A to section B and rearrange the details from scene C to make them all fit together seamlessly.
This week’s personal writing note is all about rearranging my plot to make it stronger. I initially set out to write the several thousand words needed to complete the chapter I’m working on only to discover at the end, it didn’t really work well. This is a case where I didn’t realize it at first. I was too close - focusing on the narration of the moment without taking the chapter as a whole into account. Event A follows event B follows event C. All looked great on the sentence level.

Then I made the necessary mistake of reading the chapter from the beginning. The scenes bounced from one event to the next without consideration of the flow between them. Most importantly, I found that the last two scenes - highly important to the overall plot - didn’t fit next to each other. They need more space - more time for the reader to absorb one moment before the next will make any sense.

So after that lovely round of babbling, I find I need to rearrange the scenes to make them work. That means going through everything with a fine toothed comb - extracting details, shifting them to rework various plot points - adjusting motivations as required - then seeing what happens.

Q4U - Ever had to rearrange your plot to make it work? What problems and issues did you not expect while doing so?


  1. Sure have had to move around, delete, or add a bit. Rarely does any writing project go strictly according to plan and not need a bit of editing/revision. Well, at least that's my experience.

    I've found that writing from beginning to end, not skipping around writing scenes from different parts of the novel, and then piecing them together, works better for me and helps keep the revision work down.

  2. Hi Richard- I write non-fiction so I don't have to worry about scenes being rearranged, but I do have to worry about sections. And, yes, there have been lots of times that I've noticed the chapters felt choppy and the transitions were unadequate. I'm so glad you're looking at that, though. One of my pet peeves when reading a novel is to feel like dramatic, important scenes are juxtaposed so the impact is less.

  3. Welcome Erin - Good to see a new face about! :)

    Reworking the sections in non-fiction and scenes in fiction seems to be much the same thing. The sudden jarring of the reader from one subject to the next without pause is reason enough to set down an otherwise good book.


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