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


  1. Matthew Harffy (@MatthewHarffy) Avatar

    I am working on the first edit of THE CROSS AND THE CURSE at the moment and there is one scene in the second act I’m not happy with…again, I know what I want to happen, but the reasons all seem a bit limp…I feel for you! Good luck!

    1. Char Avatar

      Thanks, Matthew. And good luck to you, too!

  2. Derek Birks Avatar
    Derek Birks

    In such circumstances I tend to go for a long walk after which the scene seems to work a lot better…

    1. Char Avatar

      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.

  3. jadey36 Avatar

    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).

    1. Char Avatar

      The shower – yes! I find I also pull up the ‘notes’ app on my smart phone and start typing away (but not in the shower!) 🙂

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