Last week I was doing some tweaking to my outline. This often happens when I get into the meat of a book. My initial plotting is very logically laid out from point A to point Z, and sometimes it ends up including steps (scenes) I can condense or eliminate. I was chatting with Claire about some options and we were discussing what would make the most interesting scene. She pointed me to this post by Susan Dennard about coaxing out the magical cookies.
Well I am all about cookies however I can get them. Magical cookies, in this case, are “are those scenes or snippets or relationships or feelings that make you want to write a story. They are often the juicy little ideas that inspired you to write THIS story at THIS moment.”
I already have what I think of as “candy bar scenes”–the ones I just CAN’T WAIT TO WRITE. I usually have two or three per book, stuff that I know about from the get go that are the driving force behind getting the book done. But I hadn’t given a lot of thought to the rest of it…the snippets and relationships and general FEELINGS that make me want to write a story.
Dennard argues that every scene should be a magical cookie, and there’s a lot of sense in this. If you’re super excited to write every scene, they’ll go smother, be richer, and your enthusiasm will come through to your reader. This is, in fact, one of the three legs of Rachel Aaron’s work triangle as laid out in From 2k to 10k. And yo, IT WORKS.
The scene I got to yesterday I was a little iffy on how to make a full scene. I went back to my list of magical cookies for this book and then spewed out nearly 2k. I need to go back through and revisit a few of my early scenes to apply this method. There’s one scene in particular that needs to be either rewritten or cut entirely because it’s about as exciting as watching paint dry.
I like this concept so much that I have added a section on magical cookies to my story toolkit and scene builder worksheets.
Now, I’d really like some real cookies to go with the verbal ones…