5. Scenes

6 Steps to Quick Scene Structuring

Get out a scene you’re working on, and let’s see about drafting and then revising. A  lot of writers bore themselves by planning a scene too much in advance. This scene, how about just sketching the very basic events? Try choosing a big scene, like The Reversal, or The Point…

Read More

When to show and when to tell?

Telling vs. Showing We’ve all heard the writing aphorism, “Show, don’t tell.” Yes, all the critics have the solution to vague, talky, directive stories and passages. Show, don’t tell!  Don’t tell me Sarah is angry– show her kicking the trashcan over! It’s great advice. Today’s readers want a more interactive…

Read More

SETTING: 10 QUESTIONS

CHARACTER AND SETTING INTERACTIONS: 10 QUESTIONS TO BUILD YOUR STORY PLACE Here is a quick exercise to help you explore your protagonist’s relationship with the setting. Just free-write on the questions. Look for conflict and character-building opportunities. Also look for possible events and places where events might take place. See…

Read More

Help, I Need The Secret Tricks of Pacing (FREE)

I think of pacing as making sure that important events happen frequently enough that the reader doesn’t get a chance to quit reading. That doesn’t mean every scene has a turning point, but every scene has to have some event that affects the overall plot, or that scene is basically “skippable”. And every scene can help set up for a later turning point.






Read More

There’s a trend recently that calls for opening each scene “in media res”— with some kind of clever line (the “hook”), or sudden action or a line of dialogue.

This can be effective in drawing the reader in, but keeping her in requires more than clever lines. It requires a paragraph or two that anchors the scene in some specific place, time, and situation.






Read More