Scene Prompt #48: Clustered

For this prompt, pick a scene that you know your story needs but you don’t know much about. Or, if you’re revising, pick a scene that came out fairly bare.

This would work well for a scene that has some substance, but is lacking, so far, in details. Maybe you don’t know where to best set the scene. Maybe it’s missing depth. Maybe it’s a talky scene–and needs to be–but it could use some action to break up the dialogue.

To flesh these things out, we’re going to cluster.

What is clustering? It’s basically mindmapping. (We used it before to create microtension and metaphors.) And what I’m going to recommend is picking two elements that you already know about the scene to set side-by-side as your cluster starting point. Pick any detail you know about the scene, and then pick a second detail relevant to the scene or to the story in general. Put those two details in the center of a big piece of paper (or however you want to record your ideas) and start drawing associations and connections.

There are no rules. If you don’t like your details, pick new ones. If you’re clustering and want to cluster one of the ideas you’ve come up with, go for it.

If you need more structure, make your first set of cluster branches the scene’s general needs: setting, actions, costumes, props, metaphors, etc. In other words, just label what you’re wanting to come up with and brainstorm from there.

Keep clustering until you feel the urge to write. You will feel it.

Have fun!

Book that inspired this post

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That’s it for me!

How about you? What processes do you use to flesh out details? Tell us in the comments!

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