December 5, 2009

Wing Tip #1: Secrets of Scene

I read almost as many writing books as I read fiction.  So I'll be sharing a tip each week (probably on Thursdays) from what I've learned.  This excerpt comes from a writing conference I attended and unfortunately, I didn't write down the instructor's name.  If I find the brochure, I'll let you know.  This is a tip on working your scenes.

Conflict - Make sure there is some sort of problem, even if it's coming from within your character.

Action - Your character must DO something.

Surprise - We all love this!  Give your reader a bit of surprise.  OR give your character one.

Turn - The main character must enter the scene with one emotion and leave with another.  It can be small or dramatic.  If nothing changes, then nothing happened in the scene.

Senses - It's good to show some of the five senses, but BEST to have all of them.
    • Taste - food, gum, drink, blood, OR lack of food - growling stomach and hunger
    • Smell - coffee, leather, smoke, B.O.
    • Touch - even the steering wheel or the bumping of gravel when going off the pavement
    • Hear - not just who's speaking but other sounds in the scene
    • See - let the character see something new, familiar, disturbing, or dull
    Keep all these details in mind and your scenes will pop!


    1. Thanks Shelley. I enjoyed the lady that taught this, I really wish I could remember her name. The element of surprise is always hard for me--and adding taste (or lack of) in every scene.

    2. great tips - I'll keep them in mind as I write my next scene.

    3. Oh I like this. I really need to find some conventions in my area. I know my writing would really benefit from it.

    4. Girl with One Eye - I'm addicted to them. Of course, living in a college town helps.


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