Thinking about scenes while on the wing

When this topic posts I’ll be flying somewhere over the Pacific, winging my way to Hong Kong, and later China. This flight has full-reclining seats, so I might even be snoozing, especially if I sample enough of the bubbly that gets passed around by the Cathay Pacific flight attendants. (Who, by the way, are the most gorgeous, smiling people I’ve ever seen on an airplane.)

I’ll be offline, so I’d like to post a Reader-Friday style question to you all. Describe the scene that you’re working on right now, and tell us what challenges it presents to you as a writer. How are you working to make it the best it can be?

Here’s mine: I’m working on a scene in my upcoming book, PLUS-SIZE HOMICIDE, in which Kate, the MC, receives an unexpected (and most unwelcome) visit from her overprotective father. While showing the tension between Kate and her father, I need to set the stage for an issue from Kate’s past that she’ll have to confront in this book: the murder of her mother.  I’m concentrating on showing not telling, resisting the impulse to add too much back story.

What about you? What scene are you working on, and what is your main challenge in writing it?

10 thoughts on “Thinking about scenes while on the wing

  1. I’m at the end of the first draft for my next Bad Hair Day mystery. I want to leave a teaser for the next book in the series, so I’ve added a couple of lines for this purpose. Now I’ll have to think of a plot for the sequel to match this hook.

  2. Argh…

    Am working on the opening chapter of a new book. Always hard. But what happens in this chapter to the victim in reality must also later in the book resonant with the hero’s frequent nightmares about his own past.

    Also, the crime is a staple of our genre so I am struggling to make it feel fresh.

    Which is why I am lingering here…don’t want to face the beast.

    Happy travels K!

  3. Right now I’m in the middle of a scene in which the heroes have stolen a bunch of rare metal and are trying to escape, but the indignant natives have just shut down their escape ship and are coming to slaughter them all.

    The tricky thing is writing it from my heroine’s perspective, who has already seen the future. It’s hard to let her know some things, but not to have foreseen others. The more things that happen outside her visions, the more panicked she becomes.

  4. I’m writing a scene in the follow up novella to my Grace deHaviland bounty hunter novel, FATAL DESTINY.

    Grace and her best friend, sheriff’s deputy, Suzie Jensen are on the trail of a pedophile who’s on the run with a kidnapped child.

    In this scene the girls have cornered their man, trapping him in a horse barn in what would seem to be the end game of the story, except a revelation made by their captive just before he’s killed sends the investigation into a completely different direction.

    What I’m working at is keeping the suspense of the scene high while setting up the unexpected twist that will send one of the girls into an emotional tailspin because of her brash actions in this scene.

    A lot of fun to write. Hope your trip is a good one, Kathryn

  5. Right now, I’m working on a scene for my forthcoming thriller, IN THE RED, in which my police detective is questioning a fellow with regard to a recent murder. This morning, I started off knowing very little about how this man lives, but after about an hour of writing his apartment now feels as though I’ve been there hundreds of times. Yes, it was a good writing day. 🙂

  6. I’m writing one of the closing scenes of my first mystery. The struggle is to remember what loose ends need to be tied up, if any, and to balance a degree of conflict to make the scene interesting with achieving that “satisfied” feeling to the end of the novel. Plus the uncertainty of whether I’m going about the ending in the right way – I find endings very hard.

  7. I’m writing a new introductory chapter for my MG detective protagonist. He has just seen his sandcastle contest entry defaced and returned home dejected. Lots of description since it’s the opening chapter but my struggle is with the upcoming confrontation with the bully who caused the damage. I need a motivation for the act but more importantly I’m not sure how much violence to put on the page to serve my purposes in introducing my protagonist.

  8. The scenes I’m working on now involve my protag enduring lots of violence, some lucky timing, an unfortunate deadly coincidence and a lot of hiking through the mountains trying to avoid being found and killed by invading soldiers as he tries decide whether to locate his wife on one side of the city filled with enemy or his young teen sons in the mountains far on the other side of the invading army’s forces.

    Nice thing is that I can research hiking and avoiding parts easily, as the story occurs in the mountains and city where I live. I’ve planned a SERE* hike over a few miles of those places with a friend that will give all the descriptives I need.

    Of course the violence, unfortunate coincidence and killing bits will have to stick to realms of imagining.

    *SERE = Survival-Evasion-Resistance-Escape

  9. Right now I am doing final line edits but trying to cull some introspection from a scene without compromising character development…fine line but I know it slows the pace…so culling rather than developing a scene…but trying not to stuff it all up in the process!

  10. My MC is a lawyer determined to tell her father she is finished cleaning up the messes of the firm’s wealthy clients. However, she almost walks into a federal raid on the firm’s offices in downtown Dallas.

    Her father’s attorney directs her to disappear for a while while he sorts things out and her dad has left her a package at the safe house. The package is the contents of his safe. A laptop, a notebook, and a half-million in cash. She ditches her car at the airport and takes off in one of the errand cars used by the housekeepers.

    With no real destination in mind, she meanders south, in the general direction of Houston. Right now she is in Nacodoches, exhausted and perplexed.

    Her dad’s note had said he believed the feds were interested in their rockhound client. That can only mean one thing: the guns-for-gold deal in Africa must have gone very sour.

    Worst. Friday. Ever.


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