I have my list of scenes for the first Jake Calcutta scifi action/adventure mystery.
I had a list of scenes I knew I needed, but on the computer, I couldn’t get my head around the process to put them in order. Sure, some scenes are obviously early in the story, others later; some are clearly before this one and after that one.
I finally printed out the list, cut it into 3/4″ X 3″ strips color-coded for beginning, middle, and end, and it all fell into place. That’s them in front of my closet door. Almost as tall as my daughter.
How Do I Know Which Scenes I Need?
Good question. Shawn Coyne’s Story Grid provides one answer.
someEvery story needs a hook, build-up, and resolution.
Each of those three parts needs its own hook, progressive complications, a crisis to resolve, the climax (the moment at which an irreversible choice must be made) and resolution, the result of that choice.
That’s 15 scenes I knew, once I knew what my story was. (I no longer believe in letting the story happen without my help. It’s just too much work to rewrite all those parts that didn’t work because they weren’t properly planned.)
Some of those scenes require other scenes for setup, connection, foreshadowing, various story needs.
Repeat that process, adding scenes called for by existing scenes, and before long you have a complete scene list for the novel.
Well, a first draft of a scene list. Planning doesn’t preclude spontaneity, it amplifies it. Things may change, morph, grow. Discoveries along the way will imply other scenes, which will be added where they fit best for the sake of the story.
But for now, I’ve got my bible and my marching orders.
Let’s get Jake’s story told before I move June 1st, eh?