Tag Archive - scene structure

Scene Structure: Cinematic Scene Openings for Novelists

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 Just Enough Sensory Detail to Set the Stage:

To set the stage for a scene, You only need a few moments to show the reader where the new scene is taking place. But rather than use dull narrative, we’ve seen how powerful it is to filter the shot through your POV character’s eyes. It’s not only great to show scenes through your character’s eyes but to use emotionally-packed descriptive words that can add power to your story. Sensory details work similarly.

A Tease before Establishing the Setting

Take a look at this Establishing Shot from the movie Jurassic Park written by Michael Crichton and directed by Steven Spielberg. Notice how Crichton uses an Extreme Close-Up to show minute detail, teasing the audience with the imagery shown in the opening moments. He then switches to a more traditional Establishing Shot to ground the locale for the start of the story. Continue Reading…

How Writers Can Create Continuity in Showing the Passing of Time

Continuity is so important in a novel. Readers should be able to move from one scene to the next without effort. Without struggling to figure out when the scene is taking place and how much time has passed since the prior scene with your characters.

Scenes are strung together, like pearls in a strand. Each should be flawless and beautiful and contribute to the overall effect of the story. One of the ways to ensure your scenes are strung together effectively is to examine the way you move from one scene to the next.

We’ve covered most of the items in my scene structure checklist since the year began, and I hope these posts are helping you to get scene structure under your belt. Faulty scenes are the most problematic issue I see in the critiques I do, and that’s why we’re taking time to go deep. 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…

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