With all this in mind about storyteller versus writer, I updated my scene writing process. Here’s how it looks:

  • PREWRITE: discover what’s going on inside your character and what event will change him.
  • DRAFT0: before you sit down and write, imagine the scene, let it pay out start to finish. Do this during any downtime — napping, walking, doing the dishes, working out, in the shower.
  • DRAFT1: JUST GO! Stream of consciousness.
  • DRAFT2: Focus on Internalizations. Expand your first draft. Put as many potential thoughts onto the page as possible. It’s much easier to trim than to add. Think about the character’s MOTIVES and mindsets.
  • DRAFT3: tone and feeling and emotions. Now focus on building the pacing of the scene and focused on the feelings you want to evoke.
  • DRAFT4: Show/Tell. Here we begin cutting. What’s the prize of the scene? WHAT MATTERS for the scene? What doesn’t matter? When should we show and when should we tell?
  • DRAFT5: Read out loud, storyteller, in front of a campfire telling a story. Who are you telling this to? Who are you as the storyteller? Enter that headspace.

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Here, it seems like I don’t focus on the storyteller voice until the 5th draft. That’s misleading. Over these last few weeks, I’ve learned at any given time nothing is as helpful and simply pausing and imagining myself having the conversation. That has already changed the way I write and will continue to do so.