Monday, September 30, 2013


Life and Scene Scraps

Our lives, no matter how long or how short are made up of pieces. We may relate each part of it specific events, which divide the timelines of our lifetimes. Like scenes in a story, they could also be likened to pieces of a quilt, sewn together by threads of events, relationships and places and times. Depending on the pattern, quilts are made up colorful scraps of fabric, which people have saved or chosen carefully to match.  Some scraps vary in color, others in shade, size or shape. But there’s an order the sewer uses to put them together.

Such is the life of a story, especially that of your main character(s), for the duration of your novel manuscript. While it’s easy to look at writing as linear, since that’s how we have to deal with time, there are other ways to look at your manuscript. If you’re stuck at a certain point in your story, look at your outline. Is there another section of your story you would like to write about? Is there a scene you’ve been thinking about, a place your character wants to go?

Baby quilt detail

We can’t jump ahead like that in life and in a perfectionist mindset this almost feels like cheating—what? How can I write out of order? For the seat of the pants writer, this may seem even harder, but this can also help build the world of your story as you explore those scenes that have planted themselves in your mind, for future use and to build your roadmap. For the outliner, it’s easier to think about what point on your timeline has been niggling at your brain.

If you go ahead and work with what is going on in your imagination, it can help fuel your creativity and give direction for that earlier part in your story, where you were stuck. After all, what your character is doing will help build a foundation for his future. In real life, only the Lord knows what’s coming. However, the imagination can put together an original story with the scraps of scenes from anywhere in the life of your character, just as the sewer uses different scraps of fabric to craft a beautiful quilt.

Writing prompt, pulled from Mom’s sugar bowl: the last car

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