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Wednesday, August 31, 2011

The First Time's the Best Time

What goes into creating a scene for you? Do you outline it? Play it out in your head? Just sit down and type?

Whenever my mind wanders, I find myself imagining new scenes for my characters. I get so excited about the scene, I'll start it over and over again, relishing in that delicious feeling of something new, something emotional.

But here's the thing: I never let myself finish the scene in my head. In fact, I usually only play the first few sentences. Again and again and again.

For some reason, the first time I think/play it out is the best time. I've played out entire scenes before, loving every minute of it, and then sat down to write it. Only to have it not turn out as good. So now, I don't let myself finish playing out the scene. I know where it's going, but it's not until I sit down at the computer that I let the scene come to life. I let the characters finish it.

It's like the first time is the best time.

It reminds me of one time in college. For fun, my ward (church group) was making mini-videos and having a competition. Everyone who wanted to participate was put into a team. We only had two weeks, so it was pretty impromptu. One night we all gathered in an apartment and just videotaped our movie. No scripts, just prompts.

I was cast as the unhappy fiance. My fiance and I had a screaming break up fight, and then a lovely make up scene later. It was great. Off-screen, my team was holding back the laughter. We finished, ecstatic, and went to watch it--only to discover that Camera Dude had been filming the carpet the whole time.

Oops.

We re-taped it. And my fiance and I tried, really tried, to capture the exact essence and wording of the first time. It fell flat. We couldn't repeat what we had done so perfectly without trying.

That's how writing is for me. At least, writing new scenes. (Editing is a different beast entirely.)

What about the rest of you? Can you relate? Or is it totally different?
(Reposted from October 2009)

5 comments:

Kelley said...

Great post. Really got me thinking.

I don't plot scenes out before I write them. I just start writing and they materialize in front of me. That said though, I have conversations between my characters in my head all the time. I guess that just helps with me understanding my characters though.

I also have many, many scenes that I've written and haven't used in the final manuscript...

Talli Roland said...

I'm the same! I just replay the first lines over and over...

Janet Johnson said...

I think this is so true! I need to work on waiting to get it down . . . I always get too excited and share it with someone, but you're right, the second time just isn't the same.

Stacy Henrie said...

I find this is true with story ideas. If I tell someone before I've sketched it down, it loses it's shine. Once I've got it recorded - even if it's just bits and pieces - then I can share it without losing the excitement.

Tamara Hart Heiner said...

so funny! I never would've guessed that so many of you are similar to me that way!

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