Interlude. Scene and sequel. Taking a break. Hit the pause button. You know, that thing in-between scenes, right after a scene, the character processes, takes stock of what’s just happened, and decides what they’ll do next. Even an action novel or cozy mystery needs to have an interlude. Click to Tweet #amwriting #story-fixing
The scene/interlude has four stages: 1) goal, 2) setback, 3) reorientation, 4) decision. Or to put it this way: seek, fail, process, proceed.
Especially important is dealing with death in your story. There must be time for the characters to process, deal with, and move forward after a death. If you don’t have that, you cheapen life and death in your stories. You don’t want to devalue life.
Build scenes during your first draft. During revisions, work on the interludes, inserting, lengthening, or shortening those pauses between the action. Show the character fail, then process that failure.
Fine-Tuning Your Manuscript
- Is there an interlude or reorientation between each scene?
- Does the protagonist go through the four stages? Does she: 1) assess the situation, 2) make a choice, 3) take an action, 4) deal with the ever-escalating consequences?
- Is the mood of the interludes appropriate for the genre?
- Is death/loss/grief dealt with honestly during the interludes?
- If the goal of the pursuit is reached, will the protagonist be satisfied? Or will they find it wasn’t what they really wanted?
- Is at least one promise made or kept during each interlude
Having your protagonist take a break and breathe creates an interlude that will give your readers pause. Click to Tweet. #amwriting #story-fixing