Favorites: Scenes, Generally

Sometimes while I’m writing I struggle to figure out what to blog about, because my brain is so firmly lodged in Divergentland that there isn’t much to say except “ALMOST DONNNNNEEEEEE,” which really isn’t helpful. Anyway, in these times I usually rely on reader questions to spark blog ideas, and recently I got this one: what’s your favorite kind of scene to write?

So I’m going to do a series of “favorites” posts, because I do often wonder about authors’ favorites— favorite scenes in particular books, favorite characters, favorite parts of the process, etc. Today I’ll stick with that original question, though— my favorite kind of scene.

The person who asked this question wondered if romantic scenes are my favorite, and the answer is, well, not really. Not that I don’t enjoy writing those scenes, but my first drafts of them are always very clinical, like “and then this happened and soandso did this and then there was this.” And then I have to revise several times to make those scenes sound less like a list of actions and more like, well, actual scenes that you want to read.

No, my favorite scenes are always denouement scenes. Oh, look, a vocab word!

Denouement: the final outcome of the main dramatic complication in a literary work. (According to Merriam Webster.)

Most books follow the same dramatic structure: they begin, there’s rising action, that action reaches a peak, or climax, and then the story winds down until the end. It’s that winding down part that I like best. (This was somewhat problematic in Insurgent, because there really was no denouement. I found other things to enjoy, though.)

I like those scenes for two reasons: first, I’ve usually fought so hard through the middle that it’s just a huge relief to reach the denouement, period. Second, there’s something peaceful about them, even if some terrible things happened in the climactic scenes, and something very organized— in the denouement you’re tying up all the loose ends, wrapping everything up, making sure you’ve touched on everything. It puts my Type A mind at ease.

Coming in second place are probably “building romantic tension” scenes. So, not the actual smooching, but the little tense interactions beforehand. Like the entire Ferris wheel scene. Or that time Tris randomly grabs Four’s hand. I guess I mostly just love how intense and significant it is when you make contact with someone before you’re sure of what you mean to each other. I still remember the first time I casually touched my husband’s arm— I would have done that to anyone, in the course of conversation, but because it was him it felt like ZING, heat, nerves, heartbeat. And trying to figure out how someone else feels about you in those early stages is an extremely nerve-wracking, exciting guessing game. I like to play it with my characters.

Anyway, there you have it: my favorite scenes, generally.

234 Notes

  1. perlatheexploradora reblogged this from theartofnotwriting and added:
    She likes playing with our feels and I love it !!!!
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