Scene Writing: Do you script them?

Last spring, before I realized I was starting these blogs, I sat down with 15 years’s worth of background notes on my fantasy world and organized them. Then I spent the early summer writing down everything pertinent that I’d never written down. I created a digital map and started thinking about scenes. I realized, at some point, that I simply didn’t know enough about scene writing to produce the quality of fiction I’m looking for, so I did some research.

Here are a couple of links I find helpful.

Holly Lisle’s scene creation workshop talks about writing scenes that move a story along, and provides easy-to-follow examples. I’ve picked up more than one trick from Holly Lisle over the years.

Randy Ingermanson explains scene-sequel structure and motivation-reaction units. I had to to read two or three articles to get the info that’s all in this one, so I find it very handy.

As with all advice, it’s important to apply the parts that work to your own writing process and not get hung up on the rest. I don’t use things like this in a formulaic way, but I’ve found the techniques in these two articles extremely helpful, and they’ve improved my scene writing.

I’m thinking I’ll have the social media network far enough along by mid-July to get back to the fiction. Here’s a question for all you writers out there. Have you ever scripted scenes before writing them? I’m thinking of sitting down and scripting about 10 – just basic stuff like location, people present, a summary of conversation/action, and so forth. Then writing them all from the scripts. I’m thinking this might help move that project forward.

About Gene'O

Compulsive writer, amateur photographer, and blogaholic. Also an evil genius.

12 thoughts on “Scene Writing: Do you script them?

  1. I briefly dabbed into play-writing when I was a teenager and I learned script writing when in professional cinema school. I admit that it made me turn even more wordy. I have a difficult time with the austere aspect of script writing, though I understand the reason for its existence and know that some people excel at it. Maybe it is due to the fact that my dialogues can be my weak point, though I have improved notably thanks to my role-playing experience. I tend to have notes about arcs, characters, locations, but not really organized by actual scenes.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Diana says:

    It’s been a while since I did any real fiction writing. But I remember starting with the general sketch of the story in my head and then just working on the scenes as they showed up in my head, if that makes sense.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. I have tried several methods of writing sketches, outlines, scripts, and found that for me, it didn’t really work. What I tend to do is write the story, more or less, in my head. Then I start at the beginning and write. As I do this the story changes and often improves as ideas are flushed out or discarded. I need to be careful of looking for techniques to help me write rather than just actually writing. About once a week I have this conversation in my own mind:
    “How old are now?”
    “Old enough.”
    “How much time do you think you have left?”
    “Not much. Maybe thirty, forty years, at best.”
    “Then get writing you god damn baby before you die and your only accomplishment will be finishing bloody Skyrim.”
    “All right all right. Jesus, you don’t have to yell. You’re inside my head. I can hear you just fine.”
    And then I’m good for another week. But that’s what works for me and may not work for others.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Gene'O says:

      Yeah. I have that conversation, too. I usually only look for techniques or advice when I have a problem to solve – like not having a firm enough grip on scene-writing to do the job.

      I was making progress on the fantasy project last summer, but decided to take a gamble and put all my writing time into building a big social media network for a year. I did that because several offline friends offered to collaborate on it with me. I’m actually ahead of schedule. Didn’t expect to see a stable growth pattern seven months in, nor to get the engagement we get. We’re not big yet. But a big network isn’t out of the question, and it doesn’t require the time I’ve spent over the last six months to maintain and keep growing.

      So, I’m just about ready to get back to writing the damn book.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Rose F says:

    How am I not following you over here? Thought I was. Anyway, this is how I do it these days. took some things from Holly Lisle and I use a modified version of her worldbuilding system. Most of this is trial and error of 20 + years.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Gene'O says:

      No idea. It happens. If I told you how long it’s been since I looked in on my Tumblr account, you’d laugh out loud. I’ve been reading Holly L. for a long time. I bought some of her materials one time. I don’t use her system, but I’ve incorporated lots of her advice into my worldbuilding.


      • Rose F says:

        I’ve sort of cannibalized her system ā€” or parts of it ā€” for my own needs. It doesn’t work for me to do everything in notebooks like that, but she gives a lot of good advice.


  5. I tend to jot down a series of bullet points for each scene straight into the manuscript. Then I convert the bullet points into full prose.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Gene'O says:

      That is what I have been doing. I’m wondering, though, given the way I write, if it might be helpful for me to do something that looks more like a movie script.


  6. I cannot handle taking notes. At least not formally. I will sometimes jot down a few words or a phrase or a “make this happen” type of thing in a Moleskine but the vast, vast, VAST majority of my writing– not just my fiction– is done without any substantial preplanning.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Gene'O says:

      Funny, I take copious notes. I love them. (who wouldv’e guessed, right?) The note-taking gets in the way of the writing sometimes.


  7. hannahgivens says:

    I write quite a bit from roleplays with Rose, but they mainly function as banks of dialogue I can draw from, and indications of the overall kinds of scenes I’ll need to get the progression I want. Beyond that I don’t really script scenes, but I need to think about them ahead of time so I have a good grasp of the scene in my head (or at least how it starts). I can’t just start from a blank page and come up with something, I have to do that away from the page and all in my head, notes don’t help either on that level. I do pacing and scene-sequel type considerations after I have all that stuff written.


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