the how of it


Consulting the Oracle, John William Waterhouse

30,403, A Lamentation of Swans. It is the how of it, as Michelle said. If what comes next is the primary question of plot, then the how of what comes next, the details determining the action, is the heart of the question.

In determining the how as a part of what comes next, Michelle found as she worked on her novel RIVERS IN SPACE she had to chop away a number of good scenes because they distracted, misled, or obfuscated the forward movement of the plot. Sometimes even a good scene can cause a story to flounder because it may distract from the main course. Rather than be a support to the plot, it becomes a by-way, leading the writer into the pit. But as Michelle said, “There is freedom in splashing it all on paper and then seeing what works and what doesn’t.  Rivers in Space, as a whole, probably works.  The rest is slicing and dicing.”  Yep.

In writing A Lamentation of Swans, I have the bad habit of disposing of scenes almost as soon as I’ve written them. Luckily, I cut and save them. Later, oftentimes much later, as in months later, when my mind is less nettled, I can view them objectively and see their value, or at least know that it was okay to slice them out.