Tackling the Missing Scenes List

list as example


Have you noticed how accomplishing one task brings a high, and then a lull? You actually did something and now what? Take a break or launch yourself into the next task before losing momentum?

If I’m not mindful, I find the transition between tasks is where I get distracted and lose my way.

This week I tackled the List of Missing Scenes (from Book Finish Bootcamp https://www.resilientwriters.com/blog_page). Here’s how it went:

I printed my list of missing scenes, along with some bits and pieces, some backstory and memories  culled from my “sandbox”.*  I plan to weave these elements into the already existing fabric of the story to strengthen the thematic through-line, which I keep close at hand. Then I jumped in, giving myself permission to just write, however incomplete the scenes might be. My little lizard brain editor sits on my shoulder shaking her head, saying things like, You’ve got nothing… this is crap.

This week I gave her a name, Mygda. And I drew her so I can see her more clearly. I’m making friends with my little lizard brain who is trying to keep me safe and well-fed.

blue ink drawing of a lizard on a branch
Mygda of my amygdala

She tells me to go get something to eat when I’m  not truly hungry or need of fuel. You need more, she says, when I’ve had enough… I hear you, I say, and pet her scaly head. I’m so used to running at her beck-and-call, feeding her whenever she squawks; she’s become a bit overactive in the snack department, so now I’m trying to retrain her, telling her she can go back to sleep.

And I get back to work. My list of scenes grounded me and showed me where I was and where I’m headed. I got off track in the middle of the week, but reviewed my goals of finishing by Oct. 15/Nov.1 and got back on. In the back of my mind (as Mygda lays dreaming) I wonder if this is all there is to it. Won’t there still be stuff missing?

Of course there will be missing elements (Mygda rouses).

“…what we see never resides in what we say (or write)…” -Michel Foucault in The Order of Things

But until I get it written down where I can look at it I have nothing to edit, polish and move in the direction of the story I see playing out in my mind.

It’ll never fly… (I hear Mygda quoting some movie in her sleep).

Maybe it will fly higher than we can imagine-I want to allow for the possibility that it can be even better than what I first envisioned, for that hope is what leads me on toward the finish line.

Having a list of what to do next helps, but there’s still a matter of figuring out what it means to “list all the scenes that need to be cut,” which is what comes next. Does this mean I need to read through the entire novel again? That could take another week or more, especially if I get mired in trying to figure out what goes and what stays. These are the challenges, one at a time. This is the beauty of the list. I can tackle it line by line (if I can find it; sometimes lists get misplaced, or misfiled, but I can always remake it). The important thing is to keep going, not get caught in a lull transitioning between tasks. Tune in next time to see how it goes.

Where are you in the process? Have you made a list? And are you following it? I’d love to hear how it’s working for you.

See more posts on Book Finish Bootcamp https://lorilyngreenstone.com/returning-to-intentions-in-revision/