Tag Archive - scenes

Endings That Spark Beginnings

I covered scene beginnings and middles over the last few weeks, so let’s look at endings. Just like beginnings, endings carry a special burden. The reader must be left with a feeling, like an aftertaste. So you need to stop and think. Just what feeling do you want the reader to have? Shock, sadness, warmth, confusion, curiosity? You want to keep in mind that the basic storytelling structure for a novel is action—reaction—action—reaction.

Too many scenes end with a character experiencing something and then . . . it ends. We need to see how the character reacts to what has just happened. You don’t have to do this every time, and in some genres where plot is king (suspense/thrillers), you may often end with the building exploding and you have no idea if your character just died. But as a general rule, you want to be with your character and see their reaction, feeling, or response—even if just told in one line—to what has just happened. Continue Reading…

Muddle the Middle of Your Scenes

I went into detail about scene beginnings last week, and I’ll be spending a bit more time on scene structure since it’s so crucial and so often ignored. I talked about how scenes are mini novels and must have a beginning, middle, and end, and how each scene is like a promise to your reader that you are going to deliver something. And what you are going to deliver is revealed in the high moment near the end of the scene. Continue Reading…

Don’t Go Nowhere Fast

Scenes must have a point to them or they shouldn’t be in your novel. I’ll repeat that. Scenes must have a point to them or they shouldn’t be in your novel. I discussed in last week’s post the need to find your “moment” and build to it, and the first scene really needs a kicker of a moment to hook the reader. Too many scenes are poorly structured, but there’s really an easy way to look at them. Continue Reading…

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