April IWSG: Wishful Thinking

It’s time for another Insecure Writers’ Support Group blog hop! This month’s question is: If you could use a wish to help you write just one scene/chapter of your book, which one would it be?

An animated gif of Aladdin rubbing the magic lamp, causing a puff of smoke to appear and the Genie to whirl out.

Oh, man. This is such a fun question! I’m currently in rewrite mode for my WIP after getting a manuscript critique from an editor. She was really positive about one half of my dual-timeline narrative, but found some major weaknesses in the story arc of the other protagonist/timeline.

Here’s a look at my Scrivener “binder.”

Scrivener software is shown with a list of scene descriptions, some highlighted in pink.

In the final version, the chapters will alternate between Zola in 2000 and Erin in 2019. But for this phase of writing, I used Scrivener’s amaaaazing powers of click-and-drag-to-move-scenes-and-chapters-around to put this timeline in consecutive order. So this only shows the timeline of the weaker protagonist. The scenes highlighted pink are complete. The scenes in white are either scenes to write new from scratch, or scenes to rewrite–either to meet a new purpose, to meet their purpose more clearly, or small rewrites to accomodate a new location in the story/timeline.

If I could make a wish and a genie would help me with a scene or chapter, it would definitely be the chapter down toward the bottom of this list: “Erin’s Bad Guys Close In.”

I decided to use Save the Cat Writes a Novel to attack this rewrite. When I put my story through the filter of Jessica Brody’s scene breakdowns, I discovered this was the plot point where I was most lacking. I have four scenes to write to create this chapter (or two chapters?), and I’m most nervous about getting the tension and stakes right.

I think the buildup was solid–but this plot point was missing, so the resolution scenes were unfulfilling. I’m confident that if I can nail this section, the rest of the story will hang properly, like a well-cut dress that drapes just right.

At least, that’s what I’m wishing & hoping!

A lighthouse is shown in sepia tones, overlayed with the words "The Insecure Writer's Support Group"

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Meet the author

Michelle, a white woman with brown hair, faces the camera with a smile. She wears glasses with clear frames and a shirt that says, "Those Goals Look Good On You."


I write about my faith, family, organization, and adventures in fiction writing. My blog is where I share a glimpse of my life, and I hope you’ll find the thoughts here encouraging!






10 thoughts on “April IWSG: Wishful Thinking”

  1. Wow Michelle, I’m a novice on Scrivener, but your post has inspired me to learn to get to grips with it properly. Best wishes on getting your edits done to your satisfaction & for the recommendation on “Save the Cat” which is still on my TBR pile!

  2. Thanks for the glimpse at Scrivener! I’ve debated getting it for years now. Still debating. LOL But it’s cool to see. I have system with Word that has worked for me, and I tend to be a creature of habit.

    I struggle most with opening scenes, though I have been too kind to my MCs in the past. I’m working on being more cruel to them. 😛

  3. I read at least one new craft book before tackling a new novel project. I’ve yet to try Save the Cat, which might not be so useful for my non-adventure stories–I write contemporary romance in which the conflict is mostly internal. I’ve got a lot of juice out of Damon Suede’s Verbalize and Lisa Cron’s Story Genius, though.
    You look superbly organized. Best of luck figuring out that tricky chapter.

  4. Nothing like using story structure to help pinpoint weaknesses in your writing. And thanks for showing me what Scrivener looks like. I’ve debated for years about using it instead of word.

    • Absolutely! I heard about Scrivener for a long time before I took the plunge and bought it. Word is still so so useful (TrackChanges!?) but I really love drafting in Scriv.

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“For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast.”

Ephesians 2:8-9

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