A few weeks ago I talked about killing off characters, and that earned me this delightful tweet from @rlbelliston:
Haha. I have a writing friend who, every time I get stuck on a scene, tells me to just kill someone off.A funny off-the-cuff statement? Maybe, but there's truth in these words as well. Because sometimes looking at who you can get rid of is the perfect way to fix a scene that's not working.
You don't have to actually kill them, but look at the scene and decide if everyone in it needs to be there. What might happen if:
- One of the players wasn't there?
- Someone left in the middle?
- The protagonist was alone?
- The protagonist was with different people?
- The protagonist was with people who didn't like her?
(More tips on ways to change how you look at a scene)
And if the protagonist in the scene in question happens to be alone? Don't let that stop you. Your protagonist might be thinking about other characters. What if...
- You took those thoughts away?
- You cut the scene that triggers those thoughts?
- You have them think about the worst person they could think about in that situation?
(Guest author Juliette Wade wrote a great post with examples of changing thoughts)
Why stop with people? Characters rely on all kinds of things to get them through a scene. What else might you take away from them?
- Can they forget something they currently remember?
- Can they lose something they use/need in that scene?
- Can they not discover some bit of information?
- Can something be missing from their location?
- Can they be in a new location?
Do you ever take things away from your protagonist? Are there any scenes you're currently working on that might benefit from losing something in it?