June 16 Writing Prompt

This week we are looking at oddities of adding to our stories. Yesterday, for example, we added sci-fi and fantasy elements to our other-genre stories.

Today, I want to push things a little bit further.

If you are seriously into world building, maps are an important part of the process. High Fantasy almost always has a map or two included in the book and we covered a new and different way to create a map from scratch.

We also covered dystopian and utopian worlds a little while back.

So what’s left?

Well, a lot, to be honest. The primary one that we look at today, though, is scene mixing.

In scene mixing you take your outline and shuffle it. Keeping the start and ending the same, you look at the story progress with different routes through your scenes.

Shuffle up and deal

Let’s look at the prompt and then I will explain more.

June 16

Take some of your least popular or favorite scenes and write them on index cards. Move the cards around to look at different order of inclusion to find a better route through your story.

This is a helpful trick if you ever get stuck in your story. Many writers have a plan of attack and start working with their outline. Eventually, though, boredom sets in and the writing stalls. Mixing things up can help a lot, and you don’t even need to write many words.

Pull out a stack of index cards and write the general idea of each scene on its own card. You only need to write enough to know the gist of what takes place in that scene.

Now, you can spread out on the floor or a table and just start mixing things up.

I find it helpful to have a notebook nearby. You want to reorder your scenes and read through them. Ask yourself what would need to change to make this new order work. Take some notes, and then shuffle the scenes again.

If you repeat this process a few times you will start to notice that new scenes get developed, some you will probably be excited about.

At this point you can either keep going and try to get a few more scene ideas, or get back to your project with teh ideas you already have.

Either way, it is a quick and fun way to find where your story stalls and how to get it unstuck.

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