How not to write a novel part 3 – Inserting scenes

21, February,2007

There is some advice floating around which I think you need to be wary of. It goes something like this.

Keep writing until the novel is finished if you get stuck just put a note in the margin ‘insert x scene here’ and move on.

This is a trap. The temptation is to keep writing the fun bits (e.g. the fart jokes) and leave all the scenes that are a bit hard (e.g. key plot points, character development) until later.

I thought I was finished until I went back and started looking at those ‘insert here’ scenes.

What the f**k was I thinking.

Here are some examples of bits of your story that should not relegated to an ‘insert scene’ note in the margin.

A scene where:

  • the wise old man explains how the entire world functions,
  • the bad guy explains the totality of his motivation and or diabolical plan,
  • the good guy comes up with the idea to use a magical item (note to self – write in a magical item earlier in the story) to defeat the penultimate bad guy (note to self – write in a penultimate bad guy),
  • the good guy, cocky from his earlier victory, starts getting beaten by the ultimate bad guy, but uses some subliminally acquired knowledge (note to self – insert prior action to acquire the subliminal knowledge) to defeat the bad guy,

This one was a beauty “write a meaningful travel scene” to get characters from point A to point B. What?!? What does that mean?
I swear, I need to hire someone to look over my shoulder and smack me in the back of the head when I write something that dumb.

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