…a literary journey
Scenes are the core building blocks of my fiction writing style. I don’t think in chapters at all anymore, except as a big-picture timeline of the story. It is the individual scene where I can meet my characters head on and discover what they have to say at any given time during the tale.
Don’t be misled to think that a scene just conveys what’s happening at that moment. In fact, I believe learning how to build great individual scenes, and seamlessly and successfully connect them is so significant that I’m going to be spending the next several features delving into them with you
Just like the book itself or even the chapters, each scene should have a beginning, a middle and an end. But look further than that, and know that within this fundamental structure lie so many other cool things – different techniques, elements and many other considerations that can drive your story to a level you never thought possible.
I will say that in order to do that, the first step is to use a software that encourages scene writing. Whether you buy Scrivener or use the amazing and FREE yWriter 5, I can’t begin to tell you how much more detailed your writing can become when you use a tool that allows you to hone in on the fine print! I know many people have written entire novels in Word, using its tracking/change features, but I promise it’s worth your time to look into these other tools.
Today, I’m going to talk briefly about scene beginnings. Before I begin, it’s important to point out that scenes normally have no break in time (I will never say never to any guidance I give, because experimental writing can lead to never-before-seen results). But, the common practice is no break in time – or location. This is what allows you to put laser focus on the characters and action.
So the beginning each scene of course should be memorable. That’s a given. The creative part is that you get to choose how you launch each one. The question to ask yourself is, What has to happen to ensure the reader stays with you for the long haul.
While the beginning of each scene quickly fades into the background, you still want to choose wisely.
Let’s look at some common types of scene openings to discover their purpose.
Think about your own story’s scenes… Try out different options to see what results you get. The goal is to learn the pros and cons of each one, and then use them in a way that gives your story those peaks and valleys that builds the tension, then lets the reader breath before diving back in.
Next up, we’ll talk about what techniques can help you build compelling middles. Until then…write on.