This is what I do when I change one scene and it throws EVERYTHING off.
Okay, maybe not EVERYTHING. But enough little things to matter.
(Click image to enlarge—apologies for the tiny font.)
This week, for example, I made a chart that looked pretty similar to this one. All because the scene in question (Scene 1) was Info Dump City. To fix its Info-Dumpness, I (brace yourselves for this, here) took out some of the info. Some, I eliminated altogether. Some, I transformed into tip-of-the-iceberg, tantalizing info that will make the reader go huh? instead of duh. (Hopefully.) Some, I postponed.
What to do with all the info that a) needs to be followed up on, and b) needs to get in there at some other time?
That’s where the hard part comes in. Actions and reactions, emotions, motivation—they’re all pretty much tied to each other. So, when I change Info Dump City scenes, the next scenes tend to need tweaking, too. S can’t freak out about something H said if H didn’t say it, right? And he can’t make plans based on suspicions he doesn’t yet have.
So, this is what I do when I need to figure out a chunk of scenes. Read and re-evaluate the whole chunk in question, decide what can be done to make it smooth. Decide what needs to be added, cut, tweaked, or left as they are. Not many get to remain as they are.
Not every chunk of scenes takes this much work (fortunately). But, some do. It’s nice to have a system in place for the times when I get to Info Dump City. Systems are far preferable to freaking out.
This isn’t necessarily a do what I do post, it’s mainly just a this is what I do, and can you relate to it? post. I’m curious about how you guys deal with figuring out problems in your work. Do you go to the gym, think things over while you run? In the shower, perhaps? Do you have to think on paper/computer, with lists and notes? Do you go in without a plan? Are you a genius and you never have problems to fix, ever?
PS: I made this in Excel with the Draw toolbar (specifically, the rectangle, arrow, symbols, and text box functions on the toolbar). Everything you see here is pretty simple to make—the benefits of it are greater than the time spent making it. You can easily click-and-drag the arrows and blocks, like you would do with physical index cards if you were rearranging them on a table.