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Monday, November 16, 2015

Leaving Your Stamp on a Scene

Today's post is kind of a follow-up to last week's post, where I talked about ramping up your scenes by taking advantage of everything brought to the scene. But there is also something else to consider when brainstorming a scene: Leaving your stamp on it.

Now I don't mean like secretly putting your name in the text somewhere or doing a cameo or making sure every scene has a mention of water. What I mean is making your scene different from all the other scenes out there in the world.

Let's say your about to write a scene where your protagonist meets his love interest. There are a million scenes in the world of storytelling where that happens, right? So consider how you can make yours different or better than what's already been done.

I'll give a legit example. If you get David Farland's book, Million Dollar Outlines, at the back of it is a excerpt of a brainstorming session for Indiana Jones. During the session, the filmmakers are talking about a chase scene. Chase scenes have been done a million times. But during the brainstorming, they come up with the idea of using a camel in the chase scene. They'd never seen a chase scene done with a camel. Horses, cars, and on foot--yes. But a camel? Never.

They took a common scene and tried to think of a way to put their stamp on it, to make it different. (Unfortunately I don't think that particular chase scene ended up in the film, but you get my point.)

A lot of new fantasy writers will start their story in a pub, bar, or inn. And the scenes are almost all the same. If a good, seasoned writer were to do this, she'd find a way to make the scene (and setting) mega interesting, to leave her mark.

The scene you wrote, should be a scene that YOU wrote. Not something that could be written by anyone from any book of the same genre. It should be yours.

When your love interest finally kisses your protagonist, what can you do to make that scene different than the hundreds of other first-kiss scenes? How can you make the scene your own? (Can you take advantage of what was brought to the scene to make it yours?) It needs to be unique enough that it doesn't feel like it could belong in fifty other novels. It shouldn't be just another "stock" kissing scene.

So if you're ready to take your scenes to the next level, see what you can do leave your unique mark on it.


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