Faced with a scene that just isn’t working? What’s a writer to do?


Battle Scars Book 2, For King and Country, centers on events in Lincolnshire and Nottinghamshire from April 1193 until Richard the Lionheart’s return from captivity and the subsequent siege of Nottingham Castle in 1194.

I am about 2/3rds through edits on my first draft, and approaching a mini-climax that I have been stewing over for weeks. I had laid the basics of the scene in my rough draft, but the concept left me wanting.

When I know the end result of a scene, I’ll often work backwards to determine how that scene needs to unfold. Have you ever found yourself doing this? I’ll ask the ‘what if?’ questions. What are all the possible options? What characters need to be on stage?

I knew a character was going to die. (Oh no!) The death seemed meaningless the way I’d written the original draft. Oh sure, it was sad. But predictable? An easy solution? Ugh. I wanted and needed a meaningful death, a heroic death. Will this doomed character be revealed as friend? Or as foe? The scene must explode on the paper (er, computer screen). It needs to leave the readers’ hearts racing.

Main character Henry de Grey’s family lives near Lincoln. Lincoln Castle kept looming in my thoughts. Underlying political intrigue. Conflict.

The ideas came together on Sunday morning. I jotted down a dozen ‘what ifs’ and suddenly everything jelled. Gotta love those Eureka! moments. The first 550 words are written. Onwards…

On a slightly unrelated note, Joel Friedlander, the Book Designer, commented on the design of Men of the Cross in his monthly e-Book Cover Design Award post: “A strong and attractive cover that implies enough to get us interested. Not sure you really need the red sash but, overall, a very nice job.”


Image attribution:  “A view of the observatory tower of Lincoln Castle” by LysNanna – Own work. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0-2.5-2.0-1.0 via Wikimedia Commons


Charlene Newcomb is the author of the Battle Scars series, 12th century historical fiction filled with war, political intrigue, and a knightly romance of forbidden love set during the reign of Richard the Lionheart.

Char also writes science fiction. Echoes of the Storm was published in July 2020.

Download the free short story, A Knight’s Tale, when you sign up for Char’s Newsletter. You’ll also be first to know about book news before everybody else, and take part in giveaways and special offers.

6 thoughts on “Faced with a scene that just isn’t working? What’s a writer to do?

    • So true – though I wish my long walk could be along the Cornish coast! I also find if helpful if I put aside the mss. and pick up a good book to read.

  1. Glad you had your Eureka moment. Most of mine seem to come at inconvenient times, like when I’m in the shower or out shopping (those till receipts come in handy for hastily scribbled notes I find).

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