Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Scene Cards

by Rebecca Talley

I'm in the midst of a heavy-duty revision on my YA paranormal. I am currently going through the story scene-by-scene. In each scene I am looking for: goal, conflict, disaster as well as protagonist, antagonist, setting, and conflict.

I use an index card for each scene and on the back of the card, I write each of the above elements. On the  front side, I write a sentence describing that scene. I punch a hole in each card (upper left) and then use a ring to keep them all together. This allows me to see the story through its scenes and also allows me to see where the scenes lack something. I originally did this before I wrote the manuscript but much changed over the course of writing it so now I'm going back through each scene and finding the holes.

It's a ton of work. But it's helping me to see where I've dropped the ball in the story. If I can fix a scene then I can strengthen the story. Of course, simply fixing a scene won't fix the entire manuscript, but it's a start.

Holly Lisle recommends this process in her revision course, "How to Revise Your Novel," and I've tweaked it to meet my own needs. I've found the course to be very valuable, and added to my own techniques, has really helped me.

Do you ever write scene cards? What do you do to examine your scenes during revision?


Tracy Krauss said...

I love this idea. I'm going to try it.