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Scene Structure: Endings—Inevitable or Unpredictable?

For this week’s Throwback Thursday, we’re looking at excerpts from past posts on Live Write Thrive that tie in with our exploration on scene structure.

From The Inevitable Ending You Know Is Coming:

As contradictory as this might sound, endings in novels need to seem inevitable without being predictable. When your reader finishes the book , she should feel that this was the only  way it could have ended. Everything has led up to this finale, and it just plays out perfectly. This isn’t predictability. You don’t want readers thinking they knew exactly what was going to happen and are bored as they hurriedly flip through the last pages of the book.

Recently I read a couple of award-winning sci-fi novels that were really pretty good until about the last fifty pages. I found myself starting to skim through the inevitable spaceship battles and the endings—to the point that I didn’t really read the last chapters. Such a difference from Orson Scott Card’s masterpiece Ender’s Game, considered one of the all-time greatest sci-fi books written (and I agree!). The surprise twist at the climax and the completely unexpected ending blew me away. Yet, I could say it was the best (and truly only) ending for the book, and entirely unpredictable. Continue Reading…

What You Might Not Know about Scene Middles

As we continue our look at scene structure and get into middles, I’d first like to talk about overall scene type. There are no set rules to how to construct a scene, how a scene should start or end, or how long it should be. But one of the best things a writer can do with scenes is vary them.

Start one scene in the middle of dialogue, then pull back to show the setting and situation the character is neck-deep in. Then start the next scene with action. Then the next with a brief bit of internal thought or narrative. Variety keeps things interesting.

However, with scene length, that might create some disjointedness, if you have a three-page scene or chapter followed by a twenty-five-page scene, then a twelve-page scene. Studying novels in your genre should give you a good idea of scene/chapter length, and I highly recommend taking the time to do so. Continue Reading…

Scene Structure: Establishing Your Setting

For this week’s Throwback Thursday, we’re looking at excerpts from past posts on Live Write Thrive that tie in with our exploration on scene structure.

From An Introduction to Stationary Camera Shots:

Setting Up the Scene: Establishing Shots

Establishing Shots are critical in a film. They clue the viewer where this next scene is about to take place. Each time the location of a scene shifts, a new establishing shot does exactly what its name implies: it establishes where the story will now continue, and fiction writers need to do the same thing. The purpose is to give a general impression rather than specific information.

Often a Long Shot is used for an Establishing Shot, but not all Long Shots are Establishing Shots, so those will be discussed in another chapter. Although Establishing Shots are mostly used at the beginning of a scene to set the locale, they can also be used at the end of a segment to provide a revealing or unexpected context, which can pack a big punch when offering the audience a surprising twist tied into the setting or landscape. Continue Reading…

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