Saturday, May 21, 2011

CRAFT: Revising

Well .. OKAY!

I recently mentioned that I'm struggling with the revision of a specific WIP chapter. I even considered cutting the whole thing ... but I didn't, because it contains important information for character development, scene setting, and foreshadowing.

My usual editing, revising, and writing bible is THE FIRE IN FICTION by Maass ... but it wasn't helping me this time.

Yesterday, I posted about this new book I'm reading: THE STORY BOOK by Baboulene. I wrote that you'd have to wait for the review (you still do) ... HOWEVER ...

I just have to tell you: YAY! Problem solved!! Thanks Baboulene!

Now, this may seem totally obvious to the rest of you, but here's what helped me (from Baboulene's book). Regarding my specific problem chapter, I asked and answered the following questions:

1. Who is the protagonist?
2. Who is the antagonist (or what is the antagonism)?
3. What is the protagonist's scene aim?
4. What is the antagonist's aim (should be in direct opposition to the aim of the protagonist)?
5. What is the inciting incident of the scene?
6. How does the conflict play out?
7. How does the protagonist's emotional value switch to the positive, showing growth by the end?

(roughly taken (not directly quoted) from page 49 of THE STORY BOOK by David Baboulene)

Give it a try on a scene or chapter in your work-in-progress and see what happens.

Do you think your protagonist should experience conflict in every scene?


  1. The thing about conflict is that it isn't one thing. I don't think the protag needs to be fighting for his life every scene, but he does need to be dealing with something, even if it's internal.

    Moody Writing

  2. I'm going to have to check out the book! Thanks for the tip- I love having to buy new books on craft. :)

  3. I thought for a moment you'd taken up knitting or weaving when I saw the title of this post LOL! Yes all great pointers to get the chapters on the right track. I must get back to my WIP soon. :O)

  4. Conflict in every chapter? Maybe. But it doesn't always have to be angry confrontation, it could be mixed feelings.

  5. ok, my Internet is being difficult. If you get a comment from me twice, just delete one.

    I love it when magic happens and something we read or hear just clicks it. I noted your list into my checklist, because you never know when that might click it for me. Thanks! Oh, sounds like a good book too. Thanks for the tip.

  6. I do. But it doesn't have to be high conflict. Sometimes it can just be internal or a small humorous problem (getting all tongue tied when talking to the cute girl behind the counter at the milk store?). Also it can sometimes be a forewarning of conflict. A scene where the protagonist thinks everything is so perfect that we just know it's all going down the toilet in the next scene (I always think of the scene in Of Mice and Men, where the three mend discuss their plan to have that perfect little house and how they are sooo close to getting it. It burns me up because I just KNOW it's going to be ruined).
    Wagging Tales - Blog for Writers

  7. Good question! And I've pondered over this many times. The professional answer is yes. But I disagree personally. I have no prob reading a story that does not have conflict in every scene. I'm intrigued more by dialog.
    But now that you got me thinking.... I'm gonna go back and make sure there's conflict in all my chapters!! ;)

  8. So glad you solved your problem! Yay :)

  9. Hmmm, I haven't thought about it in those terms, but I guess I'd say there should be some manner of conflict, whether emotional/internal or external/physical. I certainly think each scene should have a purpose.

    Great questions to help when stuck. Thanks for the book recommendation.