I say ‘editing’ (in the title of this article) rather than writing, because I believe when you write your first draft of your novel, you should just steam on through without thinking too hard, which means you end up with something entirely unreadable, riddled with cliches and continuity errors.
This process is necessary, and you don’t have to take my word for it. As evidence, I offer you two of my favourite quotes about writing:
“When writing a first draft I remind myself that I’m simply shoveling sand into a box so that later I can build castles.”
And, more succinctly:
“The first draft of anything is shit.”
So, these questions are only for use in your second draft (or later). No using them earlier. I’m watching.
- What is the purpose of the scene?
- What are the objectives of every (single) character who appears in this scene?
- How does the protagonist feel after the previous scene and preceeding experiences?
- Ditto for the rest of the characters?
- What is the colour of the scene?
- What is the mood / atmosphere of the scene?
- What is the weather?
- What is the time of day? Why? Why does it matter?
- How does it contrast with the previous or other preceeding scene?
- What is the pace of the scene? How does it change?
- Where is the conflict in the scene? How does it contrast with conflict in previous and following scenes?
- What would you be able to smell if you were a dog?
- What would you be able to hear if you were a bat?
- What would you be able to see if you were a hawk?
- What would you be able to taste if you were a lizard?
- What would you be able to feel it you were catfish (yeah, they have the most sensitive sense of touch)?