My rating: 5 of 5 stars
I normally try to read two books at a time, one for pleasure and one as a learning tool for my writing. Last week I finished Make a Scene by Jordan Rosenfeld, and I have to take a minute to just sing its praises! Of course no book will be the best fit for every writer, but for me, this book was hitting pay dirt.
Since I’m focused on writing my novel scene by scene, Rosenfeld laid out every detail I need to be paying attention to. Because I borrowed the book from Amazon on my Prime Membership, I took eleven pages of notes from my reading…but I already know I’m going to have to buy a copy for my shelves!
The book is laid out so logically, which is great because a lot of writing books seem to skip around frenetically which are harder to reference later.
Part one talks about beginnings, middle and ends; and the goals of each one. Part two talks about core scene elements, such as setting, objects, senses, plot, subtext and dramatic tension. I especially took a lot from the sections on subtext and objects. The best part about this part of the book is her advice on not only what’s important, but what’s NOT important ie: mundane events, vague objects etc.
By the time I got to Part three, I was telling everyone I knew how helpful the book is – I promote what I love!
Part three didn’t disappoint: Scene Types. Rosenfeld gives clear examples of scene types such as dramatic, suspense (yes the two are different), contemplative, action, flashback, epiphany, climactic and post-climactic. And of course she hits on first scenes versus prologues and the final scenes.
So much information packed into an easily digestible read!
The last part of the book is all about other scene considerations, such as POV, having multiple protagonists (of help to me since my novel has more than one) and character emotional threads. Then, in regards to characters she talks about the differences between secondary and minor characters, and how to tell if a character should be promoted.
And if that weren’t enough, she recaps the entire book with a few pages of checklists you can use to make sure a scene belongs, does it set up the next scene and making sure all the core elements are present. I honestly was thrilled to find such a great mentor in Rosenfeld. With the myriad of books out there giving writing advice, it’s a true joy to find one that I will always use and tout to other writers as one of the deserving ones…kudos Ms. Rosenfeld.