One of the toughest things to do when writing is linking scenes. And since scenes are the building blocks for a novel, this topic cannot be overlooked.
Think of it this way. What if you were at a circus watching a trapeze artist soaring high in the sky, catching one trapeze and swinging to the next. You’re mesmerized as long as it’s smooth – more focused on the feat of the swinging rather than the chance that she’ll fall. But, if this trapeze artist swings and falters, catching onto the next trapeze and wobbling, we gasp! Continue reading →
For all the fantasy / thriller / sci-fi people out there, this post should be helpful — something to aid you in sorting out an intense battle sequence. If you’re anything like me, whenever I think about a large-scale fight, I tend to cringe. In fact, in The Pioneers Saga, there are several of such sequences, and there were times in my writing where I found myself skipping the fight scene so that I could get on to something that was a stronger writing point for me.
Generating a plot line can be tough. We’ve touched on this before, but let me say this: there’s more than one way to skin a cat. (Whoever came up with that phrase must have been some kinda’ sick-o). James Scott Bell suggests a technique that I would like to expound on.
He says that we should think of something that gets us riled up, and then write about that. I agree. Writing what we “know” can be a fruitless and boring experience. In fact, I started writing a nonfiction piece a few years ago, and within the first few pages I abandoned it. Did I know the subject? Yes. But I just didn’t care about it. I could have written the book in a few weeks if I wanted to. I knew the material that well.
Here’s the thing, though. I had no emotional attachment to the material. What makes you tick? What are some emotional hot buttons for you? Continue reading →
So the examples that I’ve shared from the past few blogs seem to refer to scenes from a thriller – hence the title. What if you’re not writing a thriller? Then what do you do? Let’s think about it. I’ll switch over to a less explosive genre (I intentionally did not use “intense” because any novel can be intense).
What do we do! What’s next? Where do we go from here? Pete has just decided to dial 911. The reader is relieved. At least help is on the way. I mean, we have no idea what Pete’s father is doing. The “sequel” has been written.
Now we write another scene. Remember the three elements that we need? We need the goal, the conflict, and the disaster. And the key here is the keep the tension mounting. There are a lot of avenues that we could take, but let’s go with one of the obvious ones.
The page has turned. Pete, from yesterday’s post, is gripping the windowsill, watching in horror as his father drags away the lifeless corpse of a deceased man. Now what? What we just wrote was the scene in SCENE-IT.
Now we’re going to write what Swain refers to as the sequel. It’s the follow-up moment or scene. I disagree with swain in that this “sequel” must be a few lines. I have written “sequels” that have been several pages long. But what is a sequel? Continue reading →
Scenes are the building blocks of a novel. We know that. They are the very things that push our work forward. But what elements comprise a scene? This is a tougher question. The simple answer is this: a series of events. But what do those events have in common?
Dwight Swain describes scenes in terms of scenes and sequels. This fundamental idea of writing has changed my style for the better. Planning has become simpler. Also, seeing my scenes as units that progress the story forward have become clearer.
We talked about tension building yesterday, but today is a bit different. This is referring to the rise and fall — kinda’ like an empire. If a scene starts at its peak, and it’s not the last scene of the novel, then it’s hard to follow after that point. Even if the scene is resolving a conflict, there should be an interest spike to rekindle or to create a new spark. Continue reading →
Yesterday we talked about how to begin a scene and how to end a scene: FROM HEAD TO TOE. Today, we need to talk about the in-between.
Think of a runner. The runner knows where to start, and he knows where to finish. If he doesn’t, then he’ll never have a chance in a race. That’s why we started with the beginning and the end of a scene first. Where are you now, and where are you heading? Continue reading →
Scenes are essential. We know that. No surprises there. But what should a scene be like? What dictates the beginning and the end?
Let’s explore like Dora. By the way, she’s a super cool exploradora.
A scene should begin with setting. Sounds obvious, but a reader longs deeply within her soul to know where your characters are. This could be a detailed description, or it could be a few words like: “he slumped into the floor chair”.