One of the groups meets a couple times a month to specifically help with novel writing. The idea is to keep the group small and work through each other’s fledgling novels from start to finish. Of course, the group invites everyone and welcomes all who want to attend, but those who’ve shown up since the beginning have been a part of the creative process of at least five different novels.
Fantasy, historical romance, paranormal, suspense, and new adult – the keyword is “different” novels.
“It’s fun and interesting to get inside the minds of writers working on pieces other than your own, and being there from the beginning really helps you understand what the author is trying to do,” Brad says.
The group recently found themselves facing a common conundrum. “We were stumped about how to write two different scenes that happen at the same exact moment,” Jennifer explained. “For instance, we want the reader to know that at the same time Bill walks into the dime store, Scott is emptying a box in the storeroom. For whatever reason, the reader needs to know those two things are happening simultaneously.”
The group tossed this around the other night when they met. Is it best to write entire chapters dedicated to each characters point of view? Perhaps pound signs to indicate a change in scene? They finally decided to write scene-lets, which are smaller, shorter scenes, taking place at the same time. If you think that will work in your story, simply write the scenes, but connect them in a fashion that lets readers know they are simultaneously occurring. Here is an example:
Bill’s entrance into the dime store was announced by the door chime. He had been coming here since he was a boy, and the smell of dust and old wood floors always made him think of his Grandpa. Today’s stop for a can of chewing tobacco would be quick and he’d be on his way to meet Betty.
Scott heard the bells on the front door sound while staring at the all too familiar brown boxes. He knew exactly what the inventory inside was: cans of tobacco, rolled into long cylinders with plastic. The ringing caused him to turn toward the stockroom door.
Scott was about to yell a greeting when the entire building shook with a bang. His black sneakers slipped on the dusty stockroom floor and he tumbled onto the sales floor. Bill looked from Scott on the floor to the front end of a green ’57 Chevy embedded in the brick wall of the store.
The two scenes are anchored at the beginning by each character’s perception of a sound that happens at a specific point in time (the bell on the door of the store). This gives the reader a common time reference in both scenes, and the reference links the actions to the same point in time until the characters meet up again after the car crashes through the wall.
What other ways can you think of to write several scenes that happen at the exact same moment?