Writing a tricky scene

By Greg Turnquist

Greg L. Turnquist worked on the Spring team for over thirteen years and is a senior staff technical content engineer at Cockroach Labs. He was the lead for Spring Data JPA and Spring Web Services. He wrote Packt's best-selling title, Learning Spring Boot 2.0 2nd Edition, and its 3rd Edition follow-up along many others.

January 28, 2013

Courtesy of http://franckernewein.com/

Ever run into writer’s block? Up until about three days ago, I have been busting pages every night while writing Darklight. In the midst of my last post, I spit out probably nine thousand words in four nights. But for the last three days? Nothing!

It doesn’t bug me. I know this type of thing is par for the course. But not writing anything has driven me crazy! I can’t wait to finish this first draft, and get it out to my beta readers. So I have decided to hack my way through this scene.

First of all, I realized part of my calamity was that the current scene as penciled into my beat sheet was way too high level. On several of the previous scenes:

  • I either had more detailed descriptions in my beat sheet, or
  • I had a real good visual of the surroundings, what was happening, and how it would begin and end and could get by with a high level entry.

In the past, I have often solved problems by literally sleeping on it. Sometimes, I fight a bug all day, and the next morning, the answer is crystal clear when I wake up. But after three days, I can’t just wait for the visualization of this current scene to appear. That process hasn’t worked. Instead, I have to work it out. I finally grit my teeth and sat down to hammer out this scene.

I kicked it off by writing the sentence from my beat sheet first. From there, I started blocking the flow of things by typing medium level sentences to try and walk through it. This began to force me to visualize a piece at a time. As I continued to write out these not-so-high level scenes, I started to get a better feel for what was happening. I also saw what made sense and what was ridiculous. I even tuned my beat sheet because several of the next scenes tie in here.

I certainly feel much better, and feel like I’m on track to knock this scene out of the park.

Happy writing!


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