I asked Jodie to put together some thoughts and tips for writing action scenes. Of course, if the details of the setting are significant or would somehow help or hinder your protagonist, then definitely include them. Play the scene in real time, with actions, reactions, and dialogue. Keep the readers right there in the scene with the characters.
Return to Content How to write a scene: Purpose and structure Knowing how to write a scene is a crucial skill for writing a novel. Scenes are the basic building blocks of plot. Read this guide for tips on writing scenes, including how to start and end scenes, as well as scene-planning and structuring tips.
What is a scene exactly?
What scenes do and why they matter N. This guide goes into some detail. Prefer a concise guide to scene structure including how to begin, develop and end a scene with examples and checklists for making your scene structure strong?
Download our free, concise eBook guide to scene-writing here. Scenes in short fiction and novels, plays and films serve several functions. Move the story forward: This links to the first point. For example, a scene might begin with a character missing a train.
As a result, the character may be late for a meeting. The reader wonders what impact this small misfortune will have Reveal consequences of earlier events.
A subsequent scene following the missed train, for example, might show the consequences for the character when they are late for a crucial meeting Make a story easier to follow. Scenes chunk what could be a narrative mess into digestible units of action and event.
They allow us to play with how we release information to the reader for example, a scene resolving an earlier subplot might only take place much later in a novel. As writers we can make some plot gratification instant and some delayed What are common challenges writers face when drafting scenes?
Structure is a common struggle: Scenes and sequels Most well-planned novels have some form of broader structure such as three-act structure ensuring everything hangs together. Yet individual scenes have their own structure as well.
Both scenes and sequels as described by Swain are types of scenes, so his terms are a little confusing. Scene units or types Scene: A story unit that introduces a goal, conflict or disaster. A scene must always be followed by a sequel for pacing reasons.
You cannot have one goal, conflict and disaster after another without the occasional breather. Having a sequel between scenes gives characters and your readers time to catch their breath and process prior events.
You also might not work in such a linear fashion when structuring your own scenes. Even so, thinking in terms of cause and effect and making sure you balance both is essential for writing good scenes. Other scene structure approaches: Building scenes in your novel visually It can sometimes be easier to structure your scenes using visual aids instead of relying on lists and written notes.A story or novel is, in essence, a series of scenes strung together with narrative summary adding texture & color.
A work of fiction is many scenes, each having a beginning, middle & end.
The beginning of each scene is what we’ll address here. Action scenes serve the same function in your fiction, but they need not be over-the-top to be effective. A surprise phone call, an unexpected visit, or an ill-timed delay will force your character to respond quickly (rather than reflect), and allows you to advance the plot without miring it in long descriptive passages and explanations.
In order to write a professional novel, you must know the conventions and obligatory scenes of your chosen genre. (I’ll detail those of the thriller genre down the road when I dive into creating The Story Grid for The Silence of the Lambs) If you don’t know the conventions and obligatory scenes for your chosen genre/s, learn them.
In my How to Structure Scenes in Your Story series (which is the basis for the second half of my award-winning book Structuring Your Novel: Essential Keys for Writing an Essential Story and its companion Structuring Your Novel Workbook), you’ll learn: The two parts of the Scene: action (scene) and reaction (sequel).The three active parts of the scene: goal, conflict, and disaster.
Each of them have their own set of conventions and obligatory scenes. Since Dystopian is a setting and/or plot device (in Story Grid terminology) rather than a genre, I’m going to just take a guess that you are writing an Action Story.
Fight scenes are dangerous territory for writers. On the surface, they seem as if they’re guaranteed to keep the reader glued to the action in the same way as they often do at the movies. In reality, though, readers tend to skip over fight scenes – skimming the long, tedious, blow-by-blow.