A Scene is a Terrible Thing to Waste

Stumped on how to write a good scene?  All scenes start with an idea you end up summarizing in a few hundred words.

Here are the components of a scene.

  • Characters involved–are they angry, excited, scared?
  • Atmosphere of place–is it cozy, harsh, calm?
  • Indication of time pressure on action–set the alarm for the reader to show him/her what needs to happen by when.
  • Tension–every scene has purpose and impact on the characters.

Create scene balance by putting the action in the forefront, then interweaving description into the setting.

After you’ve written the scene, look it over to make sure you haven’t done the following to junk up your scene.

  • Provided too much information–instead assume your reader has some intelligence, so you don’t have to explain every detail.
  • Have too little point to the scene–there should be something at stake. If not, you may not need that scene.
  • Written too much description–balance description and action.
  • Offered no character impact–although you don’t want to overdo this, you want your readers to see the impact of the scene on the characters, so give reader some indication of how the setting effects the character(s).

Once you’ve corrected or eliminated the junk, make sure your scene is charged with energy (vocabulary is the tool for accomplishing this). You’ll also want  to make sure your scene has dramatic interest–enchantment, instability, reversal, etc.

As you read fiction, analyze the scenes with these points in mind and you’ll see your own scene writing become better too.

Happy writing!


2 Responses to A Scene is a Terrible Thing to Waste

  1. Thank you for the terrific tips, Sharron.

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