Tag Archive - scene structure

First Pages of Best-Selling Novels: See Me

We’re starting off this new year at Live Write Thrive neck-deep into scene structure. Great scenes seem to flow effortlessly from pages of novels, but that’s far from the truth. To craft a terrific scene, a writer must keep in mind a myriad of principles and objectives.

Mondays, we’re dissecting all the components of a great scene, and to help, I’ve created a handy scene checklist (which you can download here). Be sure to subscribe to the blog and read all these posts, as well as the Throwback Thursday posts from past years that tie in with our topic this winter.

On Wednesdays for a couple of months, to further help you nail scene structure, we’ll be looking at first pages of best-selling novels of varying genres.This is our first look at many first pages. I’ll examine what makes these first pages grab readers and pull them into the novel. We’ll be using this first-page checklist to break down the key elements of these effective first pages. Keep in mind, most of what you’ll learn can apply to short stories as well as memoirs and other types of creative nonfiction.  Continue Reading…

Getting Scene Structure under Your Belt

Scene structure seems to be the bane of most novelists and one of the most common causes of novel failure. Writing scenes is not as easy as it looks. There are a number of key components that work together to create a dynamic, effective scene, so over the next weeks to kick off this new writing year, we’re going to deconstruct the scene.

No, there isn’t one way to right a perfect scene. Clearly, scenes are going to vary in style, composition, and length depending on a whole lot of factors. A novel’s opening scene is going to require different components than a middle or ending scene. A scene in a thriller is going to play out differently than a scene in a romantic comedy.

However, regardless of genre or the position of a scene in a novel, we can count on some basic framework principles that will help with solid scene structure. Once you frame up a building, it’s solid. You can then add your walls and electrical wiring and windows. So we’re going to tackle the framework first.

Scenes are the building blocks of our stories, so it’s essential we get this structure under our belts. Just what does that idiom mean anyway? Once we eat something and digest it, it’s now under our belt. It’s a part of us. So this in-depth look is meant to get you chewing on scene structure and help you get it into your system so that every time you sit down to write, you can crank out terrific scenes. Continue Reading…

Writing Mechanics: Scene Structure as a Mini Novel

This month we wrap up our yearlong look at the 12 Fatal Flaws of Fiction Writing. Editor Rachel Starr Thomson opens up our look at Fatal Flaw #12: Flawed Writing Mechanics. We’ll be looking at the bigger picture regarding our fiction, and Rachel begins with a look at scene structure.

Way back in month 2 of this series, we talked about the need to open scenes in the right place. The general rule is to open in media res—that is, while something is happening. On the other hand, it’s generally best to bow out while things are still happening: close the dinner conversation with the last line of dialog, not after everyone has fallen silent, gotten up from the table, washed the dishes, and gone to bed.

To put that succinctly: “Come late; leave early.”

We’ve also looked at various elements of a great scene: action, pacing, description, dialog, POV, the many ways to show and not just tell your story.

But as our yearlong series wraps up this month, we’re going to take a step back and look at scenes as a whole. We’ll be paying some attention to genre and how certain genres call for certain writing styles.

This week, I want to kick things off by discussing the all-important structure of a scene. Continue Reading…

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