NaNoWriMo Quickstart Guide – Part Seven: Organize Your Ideas Into Scenes

Step 7: Organize Your Ideas Into Scenes

The next step is also simple and fun – you take your big collection of scenes and try to see if you can arrange them into a rough version of a story. In the paper version, this involves putting them into a box (or a random pile) and then drawing each one out randomly and arranging them in front of you in ways that make sense. In the Word Processor version, you’ll want to copy-paste them into a blank document one at a time, or just re-arrange them where they are on the page.

In either case, you’ll end up with several Scenes which roughly go together, and a few that probably won’t fit. At this point, discard the ones that don’t fit (although don’t trash them, just set them aside for later possible use) and then make sure you’re happy with the order in front of you.

Here’s a few questions to ask yourself:

  1. Does this order of scenes make logical sense?
  2. Is this order of scenes interesting?
  3. Do the scenes which happen get more interesting as they go? Is there a constant feeling of rising tension or building drama?
  4. Are there scenes which are missing that need to be here?
  5. Will this story appeal to my audience the way it is?
  6. Is there a starting scene and an ending scene which match each other?

Using the sample scenes from Step 6, we’d end up with something that looks like this:

  • The morning the boys arrive in town, Sam gets gas while Bob talks to a cute female gas attendant and asks about the strange disappearances that have been reported here. The attendant offers to let him know over lunch after she gets off work, and he makes a date with her.
  • While waiting for Bob to have lunch with the gas attendant, Sam buys a chocolate bar and sees a weird kid eating from a garbage bin. Sam feels bad seeing this, so Sam gives his chocolate bar to the weird kid, who howls and runs away. Sam shakes his head and buys a new chocolate to eat while he waits.
  • Bob and Sam are walking in the forest trying to find a missing girl and see a werewolf that charges at them so they run away and the wolf chases them to a nearby farmhouse.
  • As the two are trying to get into the farmhouse to escape, the werewolf catches Bob and tries to eat him as Sam hits it with a shovel. Then the weird kid Sam gave the chocolate bar to earlier appears and starts to howl, making the werewolf drop Bob and chase the kid.

Like in this example, it’s very possible you will either be missing a Starting Scene or Ending Scene, and that’s fine, because now you know what your story will be, so you can start writing the missing scenes and figuring out the transitions between the different scenes.

  1. The morning the boys arrive in town, Sam gets gas while Bob talks to a cute female gas attendant and asks about the strange disappearances that have been reported here. The attendant offers to let him know over lunch after she gets off work, and he makes a date with her.
  2. While waiting for Bob to have lunch with the gas attendant, Sam buys a chocolate bar and sees a weird kid eating from a garbage bin. Sam feels bad seeing this, so Sam gives his chocolate bar to the weird kid, who howls and runs away. Sam shakes his head and buys a new chocolate to eat while he waits.
  3. During lunch, the attendant asks Bob about what he does, and he tells her that he and Sam are Monster Vloggers who investigate strange events for their YouTube channel. She’s excited and asks to be on camera, so he takes out his phone and begins interviewing her.
  4. Bob finds out from the attendant that every full moon there’s been disappearances for the past year, and that the local farmers have been so scared they’re moving away. In the end, he learns that a girl went missing just two days before while out delivering mail to the west of town.
  5. After lunch, Bob and Sam decide that since this is the last night of the full moon, this will be their only chance to learn the truth, so they plan to go to where the girl disappeared and look around.
  6. Bob and Sam are walking in the forest trying to find a missing girl and see a giant werewolf that charges at them so they run away and the wolf chases them to a nearby farmhouse.
  7. As the two are trying to get into the farmhouse to escape, the werewolf catches Bob and tries to bite him as Sam hits it with a shovel. Then the weird kid Sam gave the chocolate bar to earlier appears and starts to howl, making the werewolf drop Bob and chase the kid.
  8. As Sam and Bob watch, the werewolf catches the weird kid, but before it can hurt him two other werewolves appear and attack it. After the fight is done, the two new werewolves threaten to attack Sam and Bob but the weird boy stops them and nuzzles Sam.
  9. The two werewolves transform into a man and woman and tell the monster hunters that they were here to stop a rogue werewolf from causing trouble, then make the men promise not to reveal what they’ve seen. In the end, the pair are left with a story they can’t tell and the boy peed on Sam’s pants.

 

Now that the new scenes have been added the story is complete and flows much better. You might notice it doesn’t start with a introduction of why the characters are there right from the beginning. This is to make the reader curious about what these two men are doing in the small town, and helps to start the story moving from the very beginning.

Once you’ve got all the scenes planned out, there’s just one more step to go, and you’ll be ready to write!

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