Conflict is a primary ingredient of stories and scenes. Although we love it when our own lives go well, a story without conflict has no narrative drive or unanswered questions.
It’s useful to create writing goals and perform regular reviews any time of year, but the transition from one year to the next is a natural time to think about what we’ve done in the past, how we feel about it, and what we want for the future.
I'm going to let you in on a little secret. There’s more than one way into the Story Grid. This week I co-wrote a blog post on StoryGrid.com. In it, Anne Hawley and I show you a side door, and help you break into the Story Grid vault while Analytical Mind is out.
If you’ve ever re-read a scene you wrote, and knew it could be stronger, this post is for you. If you’ve sat and struggled, knowing something is wrong with your scene, but you haven’t been able to put your finger on it, this process could help.
Whether your characters live and work in a world that looks like ours, or they enter a portal to someplace virtually unrecognizable to us, finding new ways to enter your story universe will help you craft a setting that better supports the story you want to tell.
I want to show you what goes into a scene that works and suggest a process for practicing planning, drafting, and reviewing scenes. But first, I need to explain what makes a scene a scene.
Even though I don’t know you personally, there is at least one thing I can safely say about you: You want to become a better writer and tell better stories. Becoming a better storyteller won’t happen overnight, but you can shorten the learning curve if you follow one surprisingly simple tip.
There must be a million ways to dream up your story’s setting and make it come alive. It’s useful to ask straightforward and direct questions about the climate and technology your characters deal with. But sometimes it’s better—and fun—to sneak up on your mind and approach it from a different angle.
Your setting is more than a place where characters get into mischief and (possibly) get out again. It’s easy to skimp on setting when you’re trying to get your story down—and there is nothing wrong with that.