Friday, November 20, 2009


Right now, I am experiencing a quandary. My character, for my next scene, needs to think things and know things and realize things. There are also things I would like her to tell the readers so that the reader can remember them for later. However, I do not know what to have happen besides that.

When I work my scenes, I like to try to create a balance. There are internal things that much occur in every moment. However, I cannot let my characters spend the whole scene in their heads, or I fear that it gets boring for the reader. Also, a part of me feels that if nothing but the thinking occurs in the scene, the scene will read something along the lines of, "Okay, here's some info I want you to have. Could you just remember this, because I want to reference it later. 'Kay, thanks."

To balance it out, I like to have things going on around the characters of which they are aware. While sometimes having them just do something of minimal importance while they think suffices, and that can be done very well; however, this does not feel like the time for that. A niggling suspicion tells me that I have already done that, and I do not want to do that too many times. I want action that is also of importance to occur during this scene.

I just don't know what that action will be just yet.
So, I am spending some time figuring out what my MC, Jenny, is doing while all of this is going on. Not sure how I'll figure it out. Maybe I'll throw a ball against the wall until the idea comes to me. (Hey, it works for House.)

How do you like to balance your scenes? Do you mind a lot of internal action or do you prefer the external?


  1. In my writing, I tend to do a lot of internal stuff, even though I think the external is often more engaging. There are just some thoughts that can't be expressed outwardly, at least not in a believable way. In my earlier works, I didn't worry too much about balance. If a long stretch of thoughts felt necessary, that's what I did. I have since learned to balance scene, but I'm not convinced that's the best way to do it. My writing lately has felt too slick, and I think maybe my cruder writing earlier on had more energy to it.

  2. Davin -- I think I see your point about doing longer internal scenes if that's what seems called for. I don't know if writing can be too slick, but I think you should do what you feel gives it the most energy.

  3. According to Donald Maass every scene should have an inner and outer turning point. I'm not sure the physical action is necessary as long as something changes internally for the character as well as externally. Does that make sense?

  4. Susan -- It does make sense. I like to have internal things and plot things happening in all scenes, however, I think I could live with scenes that have only one. I do know that I don't feel comfortable with having only one type of action going on at once.