Tag Archive - scene structure

8 Steps to a Perfect Scene

I’m sharing a guest post I wrote some months back for Jerry Jenkins (Here’s the link to the original post, if you’d like to check it out and read some of the comments). Few fiction writers consider the actual process of writing a scene, and I’ve never found anything written on this topic that breaks down the process into steps. So I hope you benefit from this!

If you’ve attempted writing a novel, you know how complex the process is. Writers have to not only come up with a great premise and engaging characters, along with high stakes, and themes, and meaningful conflict that pushes the protagonist toward his visible goal for the story, they also have to master the crafting of the scene.

Writing a perfect scene is a whole lot harder than some people think. Many writers, sitting down to work on their novel for the day, spend a moment or two thinking up some idea for a scene that will fit nicely in their story. Little regard is given to the overall purpose of that scene or in choosing setting and developments that will advance and complicate the plot in an impacting way.

While a checklist is helpful in analyzing the components and structure of a scene, it doesn’t address the process. Continue Reading…

3 Steps to Successfully Outlining Your Novel

Outlining your novel in some fashion is one of the best ways to ensure you have a solid story structure. For those of you who’ve been following my blog awhile, you know I’m a huge proponent of structure—and I’ll dare to say that any great writing instructor worth his or her salt would agree.

Because novels are so complex, it makes sense to lay out a blueprint. Face it: few people have the talent or aptitude to wing it when it comes to writing a solid story without first plotting carefully. And—I’m being honest here—every single successful author I personally know who “pantses” through the writing process suffers from varying degrees of frustration, aggravation, and huge blocks of wasted time.

Seriously. I know authors who write, and discard, numerous full drafts of a novel, taking months of precious time to arrive at the solid plot. I know other pantsers who say that writing novels is a painful, grueling process that they almost hate as much as chopped liver. Continue Reading…

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…

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