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The Cycle of Action-Reaction in Novel Scenes

You’re in the middle of reading a book. Suddenly you hear a loud crash outside. It sounds as if a tree just fell on your garage. You run outside and into your driveway. Your mouth drops open.

A spaceship—or what appears to be one—has nosedived into your garage and your brand-new BMW is crushed.

You . . .

  1. Stomp your feet and fume. Now you’re going to have to call a tow truck and haul your baby to a repair shop. And what’s the likelihood you’ll get your $1,000 deductible back? I mean, really, who exactly can you file a claim against? you wonder as you stare at the clearly alien vehicle that is smoldering on your roof.
  2. Totally freak out in fear. Seriously—aliens have invaded Earth, and they just happened to have crashed your house. Panic strikes as you worry about your three kitties. Where are they, and can you round them up before Martians make a quick lunch of them? They eat cats, right? You go screaming into the house.
  3. You stand in awe. How cool is this? Good thing you have your smartphone in your pocket. Think how much money you’ll make selling the video of the first aliens on Earth. You can hardly control your wiggling and squealing as you wait for some door to open on the spacecraft.

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3 Ways to Not Lose Your Readers on Your First Page

Readers will often stop reading before they finish the first page of your story. While this has always been true, in this fast-paced age that foments impatience, it’s even more true.

If a writer doesn’t deliver what a reader hopes for on that first page, it’s going to be tough to convince the reader to stick around for the whole chapter—let alone the whole book.

We’ve been looking at all the things needed on a first page of a novel or short story. And while it’s not a hard-and-fast rule that all these elements have to show up on page 1, the more elements a writer includes, the better.

This, of course, is going to vary a lot. And if a writer is starting with a prologue or some scene that doesn’t introduce the protagonist, that makes a difference as well. But the overall objective, regardless of opening scene, isn’t going to change. And that is to engage the reader. Continue Reading…

Scene Structure: Should Writers Begin Scenes in Omniscient POV?

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 Wrapping Up a Look at Establishing Shots:

I want to touch on a few insights regarding Establishing Shots and how they come into play in writing twenty-first-century fiction. We are taught that it’s important to stay in one point of view in a scene. You may have a novel with a dozen POV characters (I often do in my novels), but as long as you keep each scene in one character’s head, you are okay.

Sure, writers can break this rule, but if you take a good look at the majority of novels published (and especially the best sellers), you’ll find it’s a fairly accepted rule. And there’s a reason for it. It can be jarring and disjointed to skip around in heads when you are playing out a scene.

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