all of a piece

Les Diabolliques.Barbey dAurevilly by Felicien Rops

Les Diaboliques, Felicien Rops

Watching TRUE BLOOD last night showed me how to write an “in-between” scene, one of those scenes that help develop the plot between its major turns. I’m always at a loss about what happens between the major plot points. Even when I have the whole plot in mind, there’s still those great white spaces waiting to swallow me. Soon enough I’m back at my m.o., the caterpillar wailing and flailing on the tip of the grass stalk until I flounder onto the next grass stalk.

It’s easy for me to write the scenes that comprise the actual plot–the opening, getting the conflict established, establishing the setting, introducing this or that character, getting to the first plot point–but how to develop it, how to make it richer, coherent, all of a piece?

The scene I watched Monday night was between Sookie and Sam over coffee and pie after the gathering at the church to hear Bill talk about fighting in the Civil War. It was a small scene that progressed to a strong, plot-point scene (and added a new detail about Sam) and seeing how this was done fascinated me, and gave me a clue about how to write Ally’s first date with Carl in SHADOW WALK.

What I learned was focus these scenes on other aspects of the story that contribute to the major plot, or the story’s arc, which means figuring out what those things are and working them into the story. Duh! “In-between” scenes must do the same thing major plot scenes do:

Have conflict; Present new information; Deepen character; and move the plot a step forward. Simple!