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How to Layer Scenes in a Romance Novel

This week (and for over some additional weeks) I’m going to show you how you can layer those next ten scenes in a romance novel. Maybe you don’t write romance, but don’t navigate away. There are some key elements to structuring romance novels that you may want to incorporate in your fantasy novel or thriller.

Many popular movies of various genres have that “romance” engine as a subplot (see last week’s post on how to layer in subplots). Ones that come to mind are Outbreak, Armageddon, Speed, Star Wars, and on the list goes.

In other words, don’t pooh-pooh romance. Real life includes romance, and many novels can benefit by a romance component. And hey, more than 50 percent of all ebook sales are romance novels. Just sayin’ . . .

What’s Different about the Romance Journey

We looked at one method last week that showed you how you can build on your ten foundational scenes by layering with your key subplot. And you can use that method with a romance novel or any other genre, I believe.

But there are some important things to understand about romance novels—the primary thing being the romance story engine. Continue Reading…

A Powerful Way of Layering a Subplot into Your Novel

We’ve been looking at my 10-20-30 Scene Builder concept, and you’ve gotten your key ten scenes upon which to further build a strong plot for your novel.

Last week we dove into my crime novel A Thin Film of Lies, and I showed you how you might layer in the next ten scenes with a subplot.

I believe subplots take a good book and make it great—that is, if the subplot is highly keyed into the themes of the novel. When thinking of examples of terrific subplots, the first (and best) book that came to mind was Michelle Weidenbenner’s Scattered Links.

I’ve used Michelle’s terrific novel before as an example other times in my blog. I worked with Michelle on this book as her editor and watched this book transform, especially in the development of her themes.

So I asked Michelle if she would kindly make a list of her subplot scenes (though this is only one of a few subplots she has going on in the book, another being a sweet romantic thread and one dealing with the sister she left behind).  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…

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