I’ve been thinking about writing lately–mostly because I’ve had so precious little time to write much—between leaving one job and taking another and working both while the notice week finished out. (My desk has a scary resemblance to the ones in the comic strip Shoe with their towering stacks of papers).
My very uncharacteristically untidy desk currently. It needs taming!
My thoughts are dwelling on writing that pivotal scene. Readers know that scene as the place in a story where they can’t stop reading. Their heart may pump a bit faster, their eyes may widen in anticipation, and their pulse will quicken. They have to know what is happening next!
As a writer, we long to create those awesome scenes, hopefully enough to keep the reader’s fingers frantically flipping those pages. Yet writing those emotion–thumping scenes take a lot of planning and work.
Once we’ve stumbled upon a place in the outline in which a pivotal scene would be good, the real work begins. We look at the characters and setting, what’s been happening to whom and what we hope to change for the pages ahead. We line up our beloved characters and make them audition for the roles to be in the scene. We play it out in each character’s point of view (POV) to see who can add the most punch to the scene. Who has the most to gain or lose when the scene changes direction?
Once we decide who will tell the story, we can write that scene. We create setting shifts, dialogue to introduce the changes, (which might include new people, places, events, shockers, backstory, etc…) Chances are good, no matter what the new pivotal scene is, there will be some conversation to go along with it. There are loads of details to stop and consider while crafting the all-important story-changing scene.
In my current work-in-progress, For the Moment, the heroine and hero do not like each other much. Attraction has been a slow, reluctant crawl. Now, finally, alone in a dark ship’s cabin, the sparks finally take hold. The heroine, Bellamy, approaches the hero, Ronan, and invites him to some dirty dancing. Since this is a time travel set in 1718, he’d never heard the term. Bellamy is happy to educate him. Thus the scene slowly unfolds. It is the pivotal scene which they go from becoming antagonists to eventual lovers. This changes the entire dynamics of the story and introduces new levels of conflict for both Bellamy and Ronan.
Reading the scene takes maybe two minutes before the chapter ends. Writing that scene took about a week. The next time you’re reading a book and reach that place where you pause, exhale, and go “Ooohhh, I like that!”, remember how much effort and time the author put into creating that part. If you want to thank them for their hard work, leave a review where you bought it (Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Goodreads, etc…) to let others know what you thought of that book. Honest reviews help authors so much and inspire them to write more great pivotal scenes.
Ryan Jo Summers’ latest release with Soul Mate Publishing is “Rainbows in the Moonlight“, a Christian romance.
She can be followed socially at http://www.ryanjosummers.com