Before sending your novel, memoir, screenplay out into the world, go behind the scenes for one final check. Step One: Go Behind the Scenes – Emotion. Go Behind the Scenes program works best with your plot and structure already set and the story is written to the end. If not, 1st follow the on-line video course that best serves your needs or adapt the exercises for your specific needs.
I use a Scene Tracker during this program to celebrate the release of my latest book Writing Blockbuster Plots: Step-by-Step Guide to Mastering Plot, Structure and Scenes.
To follow along with Go Behind the Scenes, complete the step-by-step guide how to create a Scene Tracker for your story in Writing Blockbuster Plots, purchase the Scene Tracker template, use the templates provided throughout The Plot Whisperer Workbook, or save changes on Excel as you track. (Check out writers’ examples on Pinterest)
Use the Scene Tracker when drafting your story and for each revision to determine strengths and weaknesses in the plot at scene level. As you fill in what is missing also test what remains. A good scene advances one plot element. A great scene advances all seven essential elements.
Now, as a final test, use the same Scene Tracker template to hunt through the layers behind the scenes for the actual demonstration of emotion. Look for this show of emotion in:
- non-verbal communication
- tension and conflict
- character growth and change
After using the Scene Tracker during writing, you know your strengths and weaknesses in scene development. You know your tendency to stay in the character’s head for too long, how you excel at snappy dialogue, struggle with action or theme. Now comes time to evaluate your choices in overcoming your weaknesses and using your strengths to your advantage.
Go Behind the Scenes — Emotion
- the first few chapters of your manuscript
- several Scene Tracker templates
Read scene 1 out loud.
In drafting your story, you used symbols on the Scene Tracker in the Change in Emotion column. You indicated the fluctuating and fleeting emotions the character experiences throughout the scene. Now I want you to identify the non-verbal actions and behaviors in scene 1 and the emotions they convey.
Characters demonstrate emotion in a variety of ways. You’ll likely find you rely on one or two ways and perhaps haven’t even considered other methods of showing emotion. You show the character using non-verbal voluntary actions that are under her control, forgetting to interject a line or two of internalizations. Perhaps your preference is to demonstrate emotion in scenes through dialog? Find you’ve neglected exploiting her actual physical movements to deepen her demonstration of emotion? Perhaps you’ve missed out completely on non-verbal involuntary behavior that is automatic. These are also reflective of the character’s emotional development.
In the Change in Emotion column, note key verbs. Look for those that depict the characters’ nonverbal behaviors that reflect fleeting feelings. Find physical emotional responses that come and go through body language. List those verbs on your Scene Tracker.