james hardie siding lakemoor vinyl siding installation round lake beach hardie plank siding lake forest concrete siding cook county vinyl siding installation riverwoods .. Chicago Drug testing

Scenes and Structure

Beginning writers often tend to think of a book as a series of chapters. It's actually more useful to regard it as a series of linked scenes. Why? Because it makes it a lot easier to control the pace of your story.

'Pace' may be described as the forward movement of your story. Sometimes it will move at a slower pace than at other times. What you need to aim for is a story that moves along fast enough to maintain reader interest, but not at such breakneck speed that the reader doesn't have time to get to know the characters or assimilate the plot. Nor do you want your story to slow down too much. That can lead to your reader closing the book. (If that reader happens to be the editor to whom you hope to sell the story, you're in big trouble.)

Scenes that contain a lot of action or conflict tend to elevate the reader's blood pressure. They have her whipping through the pages, anxious to absorb every moment of the drama being played out. A novel full of such scenes:

  • is too tiring to read for hours at a stretch and

  • sees the overall effect of each scene diminished so the entire novel loses punch. None of us can put up with constantly high stress levels without burning out!

    A book that moves at too rapid a pace is like a movie packed with one action scene after another-it's all too much. To appreciate and enjoy the conflict when it happens (in a nail-biting kind of way) we need periods of calm between the storms. These alternating scenarios can be regarded as scenes and their sequels.

    The scene involves the main characters in action and/or conflict. It usually contains dialogue. Picture it as a scene from a movie - lights, camera, ACTION!

    Following such a scene, you give your reader a chance to breathe, by moving into the sequel. The sequel is the logical aftermath of the scene. In the sequel, the viewpoint character has time to think about what has just happened, what it means to him/her, and what he/she intends to do next. By planning your novel as a series of scenes and sequels, you can control the pace.

    Want to slow things down? Expand the sequel, the 'calm' period, which gives the character (and the reader) 'time out'.

    Want to speed things up? Shorten the sequel. For example:

    'By the time Marianne reached her apartment, she was good and mad. There was no way she intended to let Jake Rockford get away with a pathetic story like that! Five minutes after walking through her front door, she was dialling the Rockford's number. Within half an hour, she was pulling up in her sister's driveway, ready to do battle.' In just a few lines, you have pitchforked the reader into the next action-packed scene. We know that Marianne doesn't believe Jake's story. We know she's eager to confront Julie and/or Jake. And we haven't wasted any time getting her there: one scene leads very quickly into the next, thus keeping the story moving along at a smart clip.

    Learn to use scene and sequel effectively, and you retain control over the pacing of your novel. At all times the paramount question in your mind should be: How will this scene advance the story? If the answer is 'I don't know' or 'It won't, really' - then out it goes, no matter how well-written it is.

    The Structure Of A Scene

    The viewpoint character in each scene should have a goal. Why? So you don't include scenes that go nowhere and achieve nothing. Scenes that bog your story down.

    hese are the things you should take into consideration when planning a scene:

    1. What is the viewpoint character's goal?

    • What does he want at the outset of the scene?

    • How will the action in the scene help him to get what he wants?

    • Is the scene goal relevant to the viewpoint character's main goals in life? (Either work or private)

    • Will the reader worry about whether the viewpoint character will get what he wants?
    2. What is the source of conflict?

    • What complications will arise to prevent your character from achieving her goal(s)?

    • How will your character try to overcome these problems?

    • Will the readers worry about whether the character will achieve her goal(s)?
    3. Does your scene end dramatically?
    • Is the viewpoint character better off or worse off at the end of the scene?

    • If he is better off, have you introduced (or foreshadowed) a new plot twist to maintain tension? (Never make things too easy for your main character.)

    • Has the scene moved the story forward?

    • Has the scene left the reader wanting to know what will happen next?

    • Have you answered the question you set up in the reader's mind at the beginning of the scene? (For example: will Character get what he wants? How will he go about getting what he wants?)
    4. Have you planned the scene's sequel?

    • Have you had the character think about what has just happened?

    • Have you had the character decide what to do next to pursue her goal?

    • Have you had the character take action or make a decision that moves us into the next scene?

    (c) Copyright Marg McAlister

    Marg McAlister has published magazine articles, short stories, books for children, ezines, promotional material, sales letters and web content. She has written 5 distance education courses on writing, and her online help for writers is popular all over the world. Sign up for her regular writers' tipsheet at http://www.writing4success.com/

    In The News:

  • Im Just The Writer

    Writers are often are greatly surprised or disappointed by how... Read More

    Apotheosis - the Seminal Insight of the Hero for Screenwriting

    Every hero has a seminal insight - the apotheosis. Once... Read More

    Why I Write

    I started writing as a way of keeping safe memories... Read More

    Idea Mining for Writers 101

    Want to write an article or book, but are stuck... Read More

    How to Build A Success Freelance Career (Part 2)

    Part 1 of this article discussed the experience you need... Read More

    Dont Forget That Manual!

    No user manual? Surely you jest!It may seem comical, but... Read More

    The Top Five Mistakes That Companies Make with Regard to Technical Documentation

    I've seen it time and again. One of the most... Read More

    COULD YOU (not) REPEAT THAT PLEASE?

    I recently read a book where everything was akimbo. Arms... Read More

    How To Write Your Book Within A Week

    Everyone has a book inside them, or so the saying... Read More

    Screenwriting, Screenplays, Screenwriters ? Incremental Productivity

    When attempting to understand Creativity and Innovation, it pays to... Read More

    The Top Five Writing Mistakes Professionals Make

    Yes, you know your subject. You also need to think... Read More

    Have You Tested Your Plot?

    Creative Writing Tips ?Our plotting stage is our testing area.Everything... Read More

    Spiritual Journaling

    Whether you keep a separate spiritual journal or just want... Read More

    Writers can Grow to be Comfortable with Criticism

    On my first newspaper assignment as a critic, I was... Read More

    Ten Tips to Help You Finish Writing Your Novel

    1. Set aside a time to write and keep it... Read More

    To Transcribe or Not To Transcribe Interviews?

    11 Secrets from an Experienced InterviewerOne of the unwritten rules... Read More

    Writing New Ideas

    Someone once commented that there were no new ideas to... Read More

    A Writers Inner Battle

    There is a psychological nuisance so powerful that can deflate... Read More

    Greatness

    [When I was a nineteen-year-old high school student and budding... Read More

    Amazing Ways Writing Articles Can Improve Your Business

    How to get a lot of traffic to your website... Read More

    Whats in a Name? Giving Birth to your Characters

    So you've got your plot outlined, a title lined up... Read More

    Discover the Magic of the Most Beautiful Words in the English Language

    'Summer afternoon - summer afternoon; to me those have always... Read More

    How to Publish a Book: Key Differences Between Publishing and Self Publishing

    For many authors just starting out, it can be a... Read More

    5 Reasons People Like Technology White Papers

    A good white paper is a paper that makes you... Read More

    Writing with a Sense of Adventure

    We've all been told that we need to use all... Read More

    led lighting wholesalers led manufacturer usa Pete's produce ..
    led lighting wholesalers led manufacturer usa Pete's produce ..