Hi, I'm Nellwyn!

The Cardinal Press is a lifestyle blog about living beautifully and creatively, every day.

Writing In Scenes

Writing In Scenes


Writing in scenes is my current writing challenge.

What do I mean by that? 

Well, writing in scenes is one thing we talked a LOT about during my writing residency in Halifax and, to be honest, it's one of the things that turns regular writing into good writing. 

Writing in scenes means that your writing immerses the reader in the world of the story and make use of all the literary techniques available to paint a full picture. Basically I'm talking about the most basic writing rule of all: Show. Don't tell. 

Or as Chekhov said: "Don't tell me the moon is shining; show me the glint of light on broken glass."

But at this stage of writing my manuscript, it'is what I'm struggling with the most. 

I'm still in the first-draft stage, and I'm finding that I'm so focused on getting the key story points down on paper that I zoom through the plot without stopping to fully flesh out the scenes. I end up with nothing but the bones and when I reach the end of a section, I'm really unhappy with the quality of my writing. 

Part of me thinks that maybe this is a natural part of the first draft process. I'm still shaping my ideas, figuring out what plot points to include, and racing to write down everything I can remember.  But another part of me just feels like a bad writer. Especially when I re-read a sentence and realize that it needs to be re-written into several paragraphs. 

I know some writers spend a long time revising sections of their first drafts before moving on, but I've always been the type to get the words down without re-reading them until later. "Don't get it right, get it written" has always been my school of thought. But now I can't help feeling stupid when I re-read a first draft and I find myself telling the reader something instead of actually taking them there. 

I suppose that's what first drafts are for? 

What do you think? Do you have any advice on incorporating scenic elements into a first draft? Or is it simply a matter of revise revise revise!?  

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