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Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Inner and Outer Appeal (RE-POST)

These shoes have both. I know. I know. I've already used this picture before, but it's perfect for today's post, and I thought you were all forgiving people. These shoes look good on the outside and are so comfy on the inside. How many shoes can you say that about? According to Donald Maass in The Fire In Fiction, our middle scenes should have both outer and inner turning points. In other words, each scene should cause two things: an outer change that everyone can see, and a change within the POV character. Maass thinks this can make the difference between a scene that can be cut and one that must stay. He suggests that we break each scene down and pinpoint the exact outer turning point, and then match it with an inner turning point. It makes sense, doesn't it? Especially when you have these scenes in the middle that are only there to advance the plot. You can breathe fire into them by revealing how the POV character is changed by the scene, thus giving it a whole new purpose. I have many scenes in my middle that are necessary to advance the plot or shed light on the situation at hand, but they are bland. In looking at them, if I take this advice to heart, they could become crucial, unforgettable scenes. What about you? Are your scenes loaded with both outer and inner appeal?

12 comments:

Melanie's Randomness said...

My first part of my novel that I've been revising & destroying & putting back together is a blend of the outer & inner appeal. I'm trying to make everything have a good point. But yeah I've been trying to get people to read it & ask them questions so I can tell if I'm getting any of the points across. =)

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Jody Hedlund said...

I really try! With each scene I ask myself, "What do I really need?" And that helps me to stay focused on the essentials for building conflict and tension.

Tamika: said...

Thanks to Mr. Maas now I have a fighting chance! The middle is really hard, his words on making each scene bring the protag under some critical conditions helps.

I'm wasting no time putting this into practice!

Dominique said...

You're posts have become ridiculously timely for me. I'm beginning to think you've got some mad psychic powers.

I definitely have to remember to make sure that both internal and external points are present in all of my scenes. I can already tell some of them are missing that quality.

Elana Johnson said...

I honestly don't break my writing down this way. That may sound terrible, but I might seriously throw something through the window if I have to look at it like this.

So I don't.

I'm one of those people who reads through and marks what's going on. Generally. Not specifically. Not outer or inner. I just can't make myself do it!

I guess you could say I'm a big picture person. I want to look at my scenes like that, and see if they should stay.

Don't ban me from this blog!

Nancy said...

Definitely, I can see where that would make a better story.

Nisa said...

Gosh, I sure hope so! I have to say I tend to look at the big picture too.

Danyelle said...

I'm not good at breaking things down like this, but I can generally see when I'm going through and revising. (My soul abhors paperwork!) I do like the idea of having an external and internal turning point, a point where things change and the ride speeds up. Great thought!

Angie Muresan said...

Yes, I think so. In any case, I'm doing a bunch of revisions.

Carolyn V. said...

Oh, I never thought about it that way. That's something I'm going to half to take a look at in my WIP. =)

資料 said...
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CamrynMorrell said...

Middles are kind of hard for me to write. I breeze through the beginning and tap away with the ending. However, I drag through middles. LOL. I find making them interesting a bit difficult. It's nice to know a lot of writers feel the same way. :)