News: My thoughts are clouds I cannot fathom into pastries.

--1 June 2018--

Quote: Words are pale shadows of forgotten names. As names have power, words have power. Words can light fires in the minds of men. Words can wring tears from the hardest of hearts. --Patrick Rothfuss, The Name of the Wind

The Fellowship

September 24, 2010

Writing in Scenes

I came upon an intriguing comment on my other blog, after my rant about reaching 10,000 words for Children of the Song, so I decided to do a post on how to organize your writing.

Some people write what comes directly out of their minds; they slap it onto the page and then continue, connecting each scene with ... well, connecting words; and then they just write until they finish.

Other people write a chapter at a time and then go back later (during editing time) and edit the endings and beginnings of their chapters so they flow smoothly.

Finally, people like myself write a scene at a time and then go back to edit (again, during editing time) and connect the scenes together to make chapters.

So what am I getting at here? Well, I heard a statement from a writer that writing in chapters was somewhat tedious; and it's true, the connecting scenes are hard to write at times. To acquire the right amount of unity from chapter to chapter does take skill...and plus, writing in chapters can result in writers block more easily than writing in scenes (at least it's this way with myself).

Here's an example. My first chapter for Children of the Song deals with my first mc, Benaiah, and is trek through the woods and acquaintance with the Chosen Ones. So normally a person would do a chapter, from beginning to end, on how Benaiah gets from point A to point B. But I have trouble with that. Sometimes the ideas just don't flow...and starting out where I last left off is usually recipe for disaster because I can't think of what I was trying to say from before.

Thus, I write in scenes. My first chapter is broken up something like this:

Scene 1: A Trek through Vanaajael
Scene 2: Vanaajael Woods & Benaiah's Thirst
Scene 3: Benaiah Meets Kyla
Scene 4: Acquaintance with the Chosen Ones
Scene 5: Benaiah's Gift Unveiled
Scene 6: Benaiah Uses His Gift & The Kitchen Encounter

Pardon the cheesy titles lol, I just jotted down what came to my mind. But essentially, those titles explain the gist of what is going on in that scene. Benaiah is walking through the woods. The next day he wakes up and continues walking and becomes thirsty, then he meets Kyla who gives him something to drink. Benaiah follows Kyla and she introduces him to a hidden group of Marked Men. Benaiah is given a room and the reader finds out about his strange gifting. The day after that, Benaiah uses his gift and ends up in a hilarious situation.

All of these are part of one chapter and later, some of these scenes will be joined together. Each one is between 500-1000 words long (I'm aiming to do fewer scenes now but keep them at higher word counts, like 1000). The benefit is that you get to write about the action and worry about the connections later. When you go back to edit, you'll understand more about the book and will be able to smoothly bring each scene together.

I use a program called YWriter (click the link to see the main site). It allows me to create a chapter and then create a scene inside that chapter. It also has tabs for each scene that allow me to select my characters (which I've already created and put into the "storage banks") and say that these ones here have been used in this scene. In other words, it helps me keep track of who is where and what's going on. Another nifty thing that YWriter does for you is keep track of the POV for each scene and the total amount of POV scenes each character has. Therefore, if one of my important characters isn't getting enough scenes in, I can add more stuff about them.

What else does YWriter do?
- Tracks amount of words added per day
- Allows you to create a schedule
- Shows total word count of book
- Allows you to upload artwork for characters
- Lets you add scene details (e.g. Goal, conflict, resolution; type of scene, importance, ratings, what time of day the scene begins, and so on)

Yeah. In other words, YWriter is pretty awesome. I previously used MS Word but I found myself forgetting the names of creatures and places. With YWriter I'm able to keep track of that kind of stuff, which is just what this flitsy brain of mine needs :P

Another application I use (don't worry, this is the last one) is called YEdit. It's from the same producer as YWriter but isn't as fancy. It's simply a word pad that you can write on; as you write it deducts the words you've written from the words you want to write. I find this to be the most amazing asset ever! I plug in my word count of 1000 and then write; it's very encouraging to watch the numbers drop down until I've reached zero. If I haven't yet finished writing I continue and smile as I watch the numbers plunge into the negatives.

So there you have it! Both YWriter and YEdit are completely free; you just download them and *poof* you're off to a great start :)

I think I've said my piece about writing in scenes. Let me sum this up now:

Writing in Scenes Benefits

- Ignore the tedious process of tying things together until later
- Plan ahead and worry less about writers block
- Give yourself the ability to switch scene positions or add in new scenes

Simply Signed, 



  1. Heh. :) I've heard of YWriter, but I use OpenOffice--a cheap (meaning both price and quality, in my opinion) version of Microsoft Word. And I forget names, places, maps, distances, etc. too. :D Perhaps I should check this YWriter out...

  2. That sounds interesting... Hmm. I know I used to pretty much write in chapters, straight through the story... until one day a later scene had to be written down... and now I'm all over the place. :D It's made my writing choppier, I think, and now I have a lot to do when editing, but I've gotten a whole lot more written!

  3. Great post! On my blog I started to discuss organizing writing but more in an overall plot sense. Would you mind if I quote some of the things you said here and use them in an upcoming post?

  4. @Andrew, yes you have my permission :)


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