Welcome to the Bookshelf Detective, a site packed with tricks and tips for readers and writers of children's literature. Thank you for visiting!
Kim Tomsic

Friday, February 7, 2014

A Smattering of Advice: How Writers Can Prevent Hours of Rewriting

A SMATTERING OF FIVE-MINUTE ADVICE that can save you hours of rewrite time:

I’m a big SAVE THE CAT groupie. SAVE THE CAT was written by Blake Snyder who often quotes sources of inspiration. One of these sources Synder quotes is Robert McKee's book STORY. 

The full title is STORY: Substance, Structure, Style, and the Principles of Screenwriting. Screenwriting for me translates to story writing (since I think in terms of books), and McKee is brilliant on the subject—talk about having Ah-ha moments! Sometimes ideas are simple, but we as writers get lost in language, ideas, humor, voice, etc., we forget to focus on structure.

McKee says every scene in your story must have a value at stake. 

At the beginning of each scene, ask yourself what value is at stake in my character's life. A value could be love, life, acceptance, a belief system, family foundation, friendships, etc. Determine the value at stake in the scene and then ask: How is the value charge at the beginning of the scene different from that value changed by the end of the scene. Think of these charges as positive or negative charges. 

Different scenes can have different values at stake, but the charge always has to change in every single scene or the scene has no place in your story.

********If the value condition does not change from the beginning of the scene to the end of the scene then nothing meaningful in the scene took place.********** If that's the case, delete or rewrite the scene.

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