Lesson Eight was essentially about putting together an outline for your story – not 1. 1.a. 1.a.1. – that worked great for my Master’s Dissertation – not so good for a fictional novel (or any novel for that matter). Instead it’s all about coming up with scenes. In my mine a book is made up of chapters and chapters are made up of one or more scenes. Each scene is a little story in itself, that connected with other little stories makes a chapter and thus a full-fledged novel.
But that is just my take on it. Not exactly how Holly put it. Think of it as my translation of the Lesson.
So then how do you create a scene?
“I never create a scene!” a very memorable, I did not say pleasant, voice claims its space from somewhere over my shoulder.
It’s scary the way she can show up like that all of sudden there. “I did not say you created a scene”, though it happens more often than naught. “I was talking about creating little stories within THE story – something that makes the Reader continue to read, to want to see what happens next. Something that will keep them interested and move THE story along to a happy, or unhappy, conclusion”.
I love the way she tilts her head, even the smirk is kind of cute, if I didn’t know that this same mouth can offer such biting sarcasm. “And how does one create such engaging prose?” ahh there it is.
“Well,” this was a tough one because I still am not exactly sure myself, maybe in chapter 23, “I think you need something that will grab their imagination, yet still be something they can relate too – even if just a little.” I hadn’t really thought about this a lot before now. “It has to be something that moves the story along so for instance not just a nice description of say a jungle, but what is going on in the jungle, what might be near the jungle’s edge waiting for you to turn your head to look the other way, and why is it so interested in you when it did not bother the couple walking ahead of you.” We spend a lot of time in our Lessons doing what-ifs – at least I do.
Her smile twist and widens, “So what you are really saying is you need a Muse to make up these little stories. Someone that can be creative.” No matter what anyone ever, ever tells you, smugness is NOT attractive.
“And someone with a little bit more practicality to tie them all together,” There you go. Just what I needed. Old gravel voice. Now the whole gang was here.
“Otherwise you end up with a bunch of pretty little stories that don’t mean diddily!” he continued as righteous as ever.
“But without the Muse you haven’t got anything,” I could see Round 136 beginning as Willoe turned on him (both physically – well as much as a Muse can be physical – and metaphysically speaking).
“And without the Editor you can’t do anything with them pretty little stories.” He made a good point.
Not to miss a chance for conflict, “Each story is like a little dot and when you put a bunch of little dots together they can make a picture. Maybe even a masterpiece.” Ms. Smugness continued, “I learned that from Peter’s screen printing business.” As if that was the final word.
“Sure, and what keeps each dot next to the correct other dots. Otherwise your picture will definitely look like a masterpiece. A Picasso.” I can never figure out how he can grin while chomping down on the perennial pencil flexing out the side of his mouth. “Everything is going to be disjointed, going off in weird directions.” He took the pencil and drew a line connecting four dots together.
“Well I am drawing a line right now.” I was in no mood to get caught in the middle of another discussion. “Both the dots and the connections are important to THE Story, as are the both of you. Now leave me alone so I can finish this.” I didn’t think either was going to give in, but then Lou Grant chewed on his pencil a little, gave a short humpf like he is prone to do, and was gone. I almost feel sorry enough to let him have his cigars back, but then I know better. Willow is quick to follow now that she thinks he gave in first.
So not to belabor this any more, we actually got through Lesson Eight – well as much as I was going to get through. There is a lot more work to be done in that area that I will come back to later throughout my project. I have already started Lesson Nine and this is where we actually start writing our project/novel. Any day now I will be starting Chapter 1.
Look for a new blog post in a few days where I explain how you will be able to follow my progress as I churn out the First Draft of my story. Be my cheerleader or my whip!