It’s hard to believe it’s been three months since I attended the MWG conference last April. After attending a conference or workshop I review my notes right away then a few months later look at them again with a fresh eye. After looking over my notes from last April, I came upon a gem.
During the conference, I attended a session given by award-winning author Nancy Pickard (The Scent of Rain and Lightning and The Virgin of Small Plains). As part of her talk on “Rewriting to Make Every Scene Come Alive,” she shared a template called CASTS which she uses during her rewriting process.
Here’s a brief synopsis of her advice for rewriting scenes using her CASTS method:
- Conflict. Take each chapter and mark where you detect conflict. Conflict may be inward or subtle as well as external or overt.
- Action. Movement stems from emotion. Emotion moves action and thoughts. Let the character feel.
- Surprise. Readers love surprises. Surprise the Protagonist.
- Turn. Something needs to happen to cause a shift—it can be small. If no change, nothing happened.
- Senses. Put the five senses into your scenes. When reviewing your scenes, she suggested using a different colored pencil for each sense (scent, touch, hearing, smell, taste). Lots of stories and books open with food or the characters in the kitchen for a reason. And don’t forget to add color.
She suggests using the CASTS (plus P) to look at each scene and ask yourself these questions:
Do I have these elements?
Are they good enough?
Do they seem genuine?
After listening to