Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Writing tip of the week

What is a scene? A scene in a book is the same as a scene in a play. It is the action that takes place in a single physical location. But what makes a scene a good scene? Think back to some great scenes you've read in a book, tear them apart, analyze why they work for you. For me, a scene is a good scene if:

  1. Something occurs that is unexpected or
  2. Dialogue between characters is fresh, snappy, interesting and filled with conflict or
  3. The tension or conflict in the story is increased dramatically or
  4. the end of the scene leaves me in suspense (on the edge of my seat) or
  5. a new character or plot is introduced that enhances or complicates the plot or
  6. I learn something new about one of the characters that increases my concern, love, hatred for him or her.
Or a combination of more than one of the above. When you are done writing your scene, ask yourself, so what? What difference did this scene make to the story. Think of your favorite TV show, you know the one that you look forward to each week, the one that keeps you begging for more. Then analyze each scene. For me, that show is LOST. The writers of that show never fail to surprise me and as each scene builds on top of the prior one, my heart starts to beat faster and faster. That's what you want from a scene.

Happy writing!

1 comment:

  1. Very helpful advice, especially when in the editing stage. This is good criteria for making the cuts that need to be made.