Friday, May 7, 2010

Improve Your Scene Writing Skills with These Tips

I received an email with tips on improving a scene, that I found helpful and wanted to share. This is based on info from Writer's Market, so I cannot take credit, but I hope you find it helpful as well, or if nothing else, a friendly reminder!

You can combine character, plot, setting, motivation, and tension to create compelling scenes that bring your novel to life for your reader. By understanding your authorial choices, character motivation, and scene intentions, you can craft scenes that hook your readers and keep them turning the pages.

The opening scene belongs to your main character. In the first few pages—sometimes even the first few paragraphs—the reader will determine if they are interested enough in your story to continue. And what is the best way to hook a reader? Through compelling characters put in interesting or peculiar situations.

Introduce your character immediately, in the first few sentences. Introduce the "significant situation" or "significance of the moment" at the same time you are introducing the character. We should be able to see a glimpse of your character in the days before the major events of the plot will unfold.

Provide insight-through physical description, dialogue, or indirect speech-into your character's personality, history, and/or motivations.

Fail to meet your reader's expectations; surprise your reader by putting your character in a peculiar situation or having your setting be unusual for the events that will unfold there. (I always say, let your character surprise even you!)

Be sure to pay attention to pace, especially at the beginning of a novel. You should be more concerned with hooking your reader and forwarding the plot than lengthy paragraphs of exposition. Remember: You only have one chance to hook your reader.

End the first scene by leaving your protagonist in an unresolved situation; this will allow you to segue into your next scene. It will also ensure that your reader stays curious.

Remember: The most important sentences in any chapter are the first and the last! Write on!

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