As some of you may know, my other hobby besides writing is playing Go, or Baduk, and there are several sayings or ‘proverbs’ that players hear when learning the game. One of them is something like ‘a move that only does one thing is a bad move’.
I had an epiphany one day, when having extra trouble with a certain scene–this saying can be applied to writing, too!
My scene, which involved several characters introducing themselves, felt empty, hollow, like filler, and I didn’t know why. Then I realized that it could be because it was only doing one thing: getting the characters to meet each other. There, it’s done, check the box, move on. That’s no way to write! So I wen’t back over it and added another layer to it, another reason for what was happening. It still got the characters introduced, but it also showed the reader something about the protagonist, and her way of perceiving the world. Suddenly, it seemed less empty.
Now I try to use each scene to do multiple things whenever I can. It makes my writing feel more thick, and solid. At least in my own eyes, which is the most important thing at this stage!
Try it yourself!