Sleep spared me last night, so after my restless movements woke my husband too many times, I slipped out of bed and into the darkened living room. Then, using only remnants of porch light streaming through the glass in our front door, I turned on the laptop and once again tackled that troublesome scene.
As I told my crit group, part of my problem stems from the setup: I have a "Character Alone Scene", a scenario Alton Gansky covered at last year's Blue Ridge Conference in his Writing the Tough Scenes class. As I understand it, unless some unseen terror is stalking a character, thus thrilling the reader, Alone Scenes need to be short. They simply lack the conflict and interaction needed to make them interesting. The character spends a lot of time thinking, and that tends to be dull. Don't believe me? Stop what you're doing and think for several minutes.
But the "Alone" part of the Character Alone Scene is the point I'm trying to make. This section is necessary, but something is interrupting the flow. So one by one, I checked each word and sentence, somewhat like Clark Griswold checked the lights he nailed to his roof in Christmas Vacation. A favorite of ours, by the way, as long as it's the television version. I deleted a word here and there, then rearranged a few lines, and finally, I settled on something that wouldn't keep me awake.
And it's still not right. Grrrr.
Did I mention this scene contains around five hundred words? It's crucial to the story line, so I have to get this right.