on Fiction University:
This simple step can help keep you from getting stuck in your draft.
A few weeks ago, Laurence MacNaughton wrote about revision, and he said something that made me realize how to use what I’ve been doing in a much more effective way (This is why I love having guest authors on the site—I pick up new tips, too). He was talking about re-outlining your novel, and giving your chapters short, descriptive titles, but my mind took it a step further.
I title all my scenes like this, because it’s easier to search through them later when I’m looking for a particular scene. I use Scrivener, and their format is set up well for scene titles (chapter and act titles, too).
When I examined my scenes titles of a recent first draft, I noticed not all of them were super helpful in writing that scene. Here’s a sampling:
- Brynn gets sabotaged in class
- Brynn is home, recounts her adventure
- At the waystop
Simple titles, and useless to anyone but me, but also not as useful as they could be. They describe the scene by what happens, not what the protagonist (Brynn in this case) wants, or what’s stopping her from getting it.
And I realized I’m wasting a huge opportunity here.