The Mysterious Scene Playground

Every writer needs a SCENE PLAYGROUND. Picture it - slides, swings, jungle gyms. Remember all the fun you used to have in

that place? You can have it all again (just in a nerdy, writer kind of way). All you have to do is start a new file on your computer called Scene Playground and fill it up with all the fun stuff you want to write, but haven't exactly earned permission to, yet.

Maybe I'd better explain this mysterious place a bit more.

When you’re writing a novel or a series of novels, it’s very linear. You have to write scene A to get to scene B and so on, the story goes. Not every scene is writer-challenging or even writer-loved. Some are just stepping stones to get to the big, breathtaking view at the end. But, all scenes are important because they build the plot.

But, in your creative writer’s eye, you can see ahead. There’s an end-game playing out, drawing your focus to the what’s-to-come rather than the here-and-now. Something fun and yummy is out there, and you just want to write it so bad, but you don’t want to wade through all the fluffy details.

Enter Scene Playground - the mysterious place I go when I want to play.

Here, I can jump ahead to the Fight or the Reunion or the Face-Off. Anything’s game in the Scene Playground. And just like a real playground, I can play on the swings for while, then jump to the jungle gym or the slides. Whatever excites me. And I don’t have to think beyond the moment. It’s so fun.

But, fun has a price.

Yes, words are being produced, but because I’ve jumped ahead, with only a vague notion of what will happen in the middle, chances are that by the time I actually get there, I can’t use it. The scene will play out differently. Most of the words will be wasted (but probably not all).

Once in a while, it’s okay to play there, especially if something is coming up soon and I’m not entirely sure of how I want it to look. Sometimes, I’ll go to the scene playground and write the same scene a few different ways to see which fits best. The Scene Playground lets me explore. I can try a scene in different locales, with different characters, different tones. The playground lets me feel free to go crazy.

The Scene Playground is also great for writer's block. You may need to flesh out a few paths before you know which one works best. You can also reread previous scenes you've played with to remind yourself where your book is headed (or where you thought it was headed). The playground inspires play.

Just don't get lost!

The playground is a powerful place. You can spend a lot of time there, until it becomes a guilty pleasure and your novel isn't going anywhere.

Once you've had your fun, you have to get back to work. The Scene Playground is for breaks not benders.

Now, back to my regularly scheduled programming at my regular desk…

Where do you play? Dare to share!