09 February 2014

How to Release Scenes You've Written that No Longer Belong after a Major Revision or a Plot Consultation

She is a First Nation People from Canada, writing a memoir about her journey "taking off her nativeness" to live a different life and how she finds her way back to her culture.

She begins our plot consultation by telling me she is wearing her ceremonial dress and explains how the sage smudging ceremony she preforms on her end of the telephone opens the door for good. She follows with a prayer to "honor the creator of life". Including me in her blessing, I feel wrapped in the cocoon of safety. Then we began.

That she takes notes on butcher paper she has hung on the wall in her house in preparation for our time together delights me and I hope she sends me a photo of her Plot Planner for my Plot Planner Pinterest board.

The writer remains so open and enthusiastic about the consultation process and passionate about her journey that the time quickly passes setting the plot foundation and establishing the basic timeline of her story. Surprised to learn how few pages she has for each part of the memoir based on the total page count she envisions for her memoir, she listens as I encourage her to write as long as she can with cause and effect before resorting to a time jump and then jumping as far as necessary to get to the pivotal and exciting moments that bring meaning and coherence to her story.

I don't know until the very end of our time together the effects of our consultation when she mutters about the need to release scenes she holds onto because they are her scenes. She understands at the logical, mental level the need to cut scenes for the good of the overall memoir. She accepts intellectually that she must decide what scenes from her life (and for fiction writers, scenes you've imagined and/or written) belong in this memoir and almost more importantly, which scenes need to be cut for the good of the thematic significance of the overall story.

Perhaps that becomes her journey now, to own her entire story and then look beyond her own personal story and convince herself emotionally to make decisions about the story she wishes to share with others based on the bigger picture as she writes about the truth she's asked to be shown.

Advanced Picture Book Workshop using the Plot Whisperer Workbook: Step-by-Step Exercises to Help You Create Compelling Stories
I recommend writers of all genres and all ages take at least one picture book plot workshop. Narrows all plot concepts down to 28 pages and 500 words for clarity. Join me live and online for 4, 6, 12 video plot chats.

If you'd like more, sign-up now to reserve your spot this spring in the 1st Annual WRITER'S PLOT RETREAT in the heart of the Santa Cruz Mountains and read my Plot Whisperer and Blockbuster Plots books for writers.