So You’re Ready to Write a Scene

As I’ve been working on the (hopefully) final revision of my work in progress, I’ve tried to figure out which components made it easier to write each scene. So whether you’re a bit new to this writing business and you’re still looking for some tips, or you’re just looking for ideas to make this whole writing challenge a little bit easier, here’s a few suggestions for you.

1. Reduce Clutter

When your character enters a scene, they’re going to take stock of their surroundings. It’s important to realize that their “surroundings” don’t just involve their physical location. It involves the people, too. Something that becomes apparent pretty quickly is that the more people you have in your scene — the more named people, at any rate — the more difficult the dialogue can be. Who is going to talk, and when, and what do they say?

Where possible, if a scene feels difficult to write, take a look at the characters involved within it. There may be a way to reconfigure the scene so there are fewer characters involved, or at least so that not all characters are near enough to speak to one another. Trust me, it’s much easier to write that a character waved at another from across the room than it is for one to walk up to another, greet them, and then interact with whatever was already going on before the scene itself began.

2. Know What Your Character is Looking For

You have probably already heard the adage about your characters always wanting something, even if it’s just a glass of water. That’s very true, although unless your character is dying of thirst, you may want to focus on the bigger concerns your character has.

A scene, at face value, is meant to give the character an opportunity to get what they desire. That desire, of course, could be a lot more localized than what they want during the Big Battle at the end. If it’s not, then perhaps the scene gives them something else, something that will help them in the end even though they weren’t looking for it.

3. What Will the Reader Learn?

On a final, related, note, once you look a little below the surface, you’ll find a scene isn’t just about what your character wants. It’s much more than that. Ideally, each new scene will present your reader will more information that will build towards the believability of the story’s conclusion. It may take some practice, learning how to straddle that line between too much information and not enough, but once you’ve figured that out, the plot aspect of the book should come pretty easy for you.

As you begin each new scene, just have an idea of what your characters and/or readers stand to learn by the end of it. If it doesn’t seem like they will learn anything pertinent, then the scene may not be important enough to include, and you could just zip on down to the next one.

Leave a Comment!

Have you come across any of these problems in your own writing? Are there any other tips you have that may benefit a writer on a scene-by-scene basis?


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