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6 Cinematic Techniques You Can Apply to Your Novel Right Now

Many of us were raised watching thousands of movies and television shows. The style, technique, and methods used in film and TV are so familiar to us, we process them comfortably. To some degree, we now expect these elements to appear in the novels we read—if not consciously, then subconsciously.

We know what makes a riveting scene in a movie, and what makes a boring one—at least viscerally. And though our tastes differ, certainly, for the most part we agree when a scene “works” or doesn’t. It either accomplishes what the writer or director has set out to do, or it flops.

As writers, we can learn from this visual storytelling; what makes a great movie can also strengthen a novel or short story. Much of the technique filmmakers use can be adapted to fiction writing. Continue Reading…

How to Weave a Subplot into the Structure of Your Novel

This week we’re going to explore how novelists can layer a series of scenes over the foundational structure that’s already in place. We’ve been spending some weeks going over the ten key scene types that most writing instructors would agree are the important ones to lock in.

You can download this handy chart that defines what these ten scenes are and where, approximately, they should be positioned in your story. While it’s perfectly fine to veer off this structure, and many novels do so successfully, this lines up with what most great novels—and films and plays—follow, regardless of genre.

So what we’re going to be doing for a number of weeks is look at the next ten scenes that you can build atop those primary scenes. I’ve been likening this process to filling a jar with rocks. You want to put the big rocks in, then the pebbles, then the sand, followed by water in order to fill a jar fully.

Continue Reading…

Layering a Subplot into Your Novel

We’ve looked at plot twists these last couple of weeks because they are so useful to have in novels. Regardless of the genre you’re writing in, a great plot twist can strengthen your story and make it much more exciting than if you don’t have any.

Warning: this is a long, meaty post, but I’m going deep into one way you might layer your next ten scenes over your ten foundational scenes. You might want to settle in with a bowl of popcorn and a latte for this one.

Two of the ten foundational scenes in your novel should be some kind of twist. If you haven’t downloaded the chart showing the first ten scenes of my 10-20-30 scene builder method, get yours here. We’ve discussed those ten scene types—some in more depth than others—but I hope you now have a good feel for what they are and how and why they work in your story.

While you can build off those ten key scenes in a multitude of directions—and that’s what my next few Monday posts will be demonstrating—to ensure you have a strong foundation for your story, it’s best to work on those first ten. Continue Reading…

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