Day 12 was my assignment for today in The Armchair Genealogist‘s writing challenge. Just two more assignments and I’ll be half through. Today’s lesson was about scenes versus narrative and making sure the scenes help tell the story you are trying to tell. Lynn gave 10 ways a scene serves a story:
- They must deliver a primary piece of information about your story.
- That information must move the story forward.
- The information is revealed through action, or dialogue or narrative.
- The beginning of your scene should be interesting and compelling.
- Your scene must bring tension and stakes to the story.
- It should deliver an experience and an emotion to the reader.
- It should demonstrate something about the character either through the scene itself or how the character reacts to the information revealed in the scene.
- A scene should get us inside your ancestor’s head.
- Avoid writing one scene without knowing the next scene; as each scene should set up the next.
- Each scene should end with suspense that compels the reader to turn the page and read the next scene.
The writing exercise for today was to pick a photo, write a narrative about it and then write a scene. I picked the photo above of my Dad directing some students on how to take care of some rope. I wrote about half a page just describing the photo and then realized that isn’t narrative so started again trying to do narrative. I’m not even good at narrative let alone scenes but I’m trying. I got about a page of narrative done and then worked on trying to write a scene. It filled up a couple of pages but I did it. At least I tried to write a scene.
I have so much to learn. I’m chatting with a writing mentor tomorrow and hoping that I can hire her to help me learn the skills I need to really make this history the best that it can be and get it done before I’m 80 years old. I’ll let you know how it goes, next week.