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How to Advance Your Plot with Careful Scene Design ~ 5 Steps

Plotting is complex, and whether you “wing it” or plot extensively, there are 5 key steps that will help you stay on track when brainstorming a scene. I’m reprinting a blog post I wrote a few years back to bring attention to these basic steps all novelists should consider when putting a scene together.

Writing scenes can be daunting, but, as with all novel components, it just takes time and effort to learn how to become a master scene crafter. The first step is getting the big picture of a scene.

What do I mean by that? Instead of thinking about the minute details you want to put in a scene, you first want to step back and consider a few things.

The Point

Each scene in your novel should be moving the plot forward. Each scene should reveal some new information, but not just anything—the information needs to help move the plot forward. The bottom line? Every scene must have a point to it or it shouldn’t be in your novel.

If you’ve been following my blog for some time, or you’ve read my writing craft books in The Writer’s Toolbox series, you’ve heard me spout this. When brainstorming your scene ideas, it’s crucial that you first consider the point of your scene. Continue Reading…

Half Off Writing Boot Camps ~ South Lake Tahoe, California

For the last five years, I’ve been teaching writing retreats in gorgeous South Lake Tahoe, CA. And each year I keep expanding. New retreats. More instuctors. More instruction!

My co-instructor, Catharine Bramkamp, and I offering writers a very special limited-time offer:

If you come to either two or all three of our Tahoe boot camps this fall, and you sign up before January 31, you will get HALF OFF your boot camp cost.

While every house we’ve rented has been drop-dead gorgeous, we’ve had our eye on this property for some years. In order to rent it, we need to get writers on board ASAP to commit to coming so we can pay for the house and lock it in. Continue Reading…

Start the New Year with a Comprehensive Scene Outline

I wrote this post a year ago, and since I did this series on scene outlines, I’ve had dozens of writers over 2017 hire me to critique their outlines.

What have I seen? That writers who take the time to do a thorough scene outline, and who study books like Layer Your Novel, to ensure they what scenes are needed in a novel and where they go, end up with extremely well-structured novels. That is, after they have me critique them.

A lot of the outlines I work on are a mess. Writers need a lot of help, a lot of direction. Even if you know basically what scenes will make up a strong story, it’s still not easy to tell if you have all you need and in the right places. And it helps to have someone else take a look and throw suggestions at you, ways to make your story better.

That’s what the scene outline critique is all about. So I’d like to encourage you to get a scene outline critique. Read on and learn what this is all about. Also do a search on my blog for “scene outline” and you’ll see a lot of other posts that will help you.

Hire me. I charge by the hour, and I feel this is the best use of your money. You’ll get a lot of help for a small cost. Why spend thousands of dollars on a full critique that may tell you, in essence, that your structure is a mess and you need to round file the whole project?

I’m all about saving time! Continue Reading…

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