The reluctant scene

I hate, hate it when I’m trying to write a scene and for whatever reason, it refuses to be written. The middle is okay. The end is probably okay. But they haven’t been written yet because the beginning keeps failing.

Right now I’m stuck in just such a place. I know where the scene has to go, and it has to go in at this spot because this is where it makes the most sense. Since I’m adapting it from another medium, it’s basically on course to happen now, and unlike some other scenes I was able to put off, cut, or merge elsewhere (I call it Peter Jacksoning), this one has no such flexibility. But the previous scene sets it up almost so directly that there’s no moment of surprise, no feeling of changing winds when I switch character POVs here, and that’s something I’d rather avoid. I don’t have some other scene I can insert to delay it properly, but in the end I may have to decide to move some things around to do just that.

This happens all the time in other situations. Some scenes just refuse to be written—whether it’s because of what came before, or because the pacing feels off, or simply that there’s no good way to jump into a character’s head (even if it’s first person and it’s the same narrator throughout) in a way that will make the scene flow.

So now I’m stuck in a holding pattern. I write a little something. It feels wrong, so I erase it, and then brood. Then I brood some more. Nothing comes to me, so I try again with a blind stab in the dark. Nope, same problem. And so on and so on; the cycle repeats until somehow, by some miracle, the deadlock is broken.

On the book I’m working on now, this is happening a lot. I suspect the problem is that in the original comic scripts I’m adapting, the plot flowed very differently. This portion is resisting the conversion; and to some extent I think the original material (which is also mine of course, so there’s no one to blame here but me) is a little… loose around this time frame. The comic format hid some of that, but it’s coming out in a big way in a novel.

I know where it’s all going; it just needs that right push to move on. That’s the tricky part, and it’s where I’m stuck now. And on top of that, the best ways I can think of to fix it involve characters from the last scene who need a break offstage for a little bit. They’ve been through a big transition over the last few chapters, and it’s time to let the other characters shine some more whenever they can.

Ugh. I’ll get there eventually. I know it. But it’d be nice to figure out some tricks for getting out of the rut.

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About Lummox JR

Aspiring to be a beloved supervillain
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