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  • June 18th, 2008 | 6:07 AM
Writing Tip Wednesday

This week's writing tip is from the book PLOT & STRUCTURE by James Scott Bell. 

Here are a few snippets that I've extracted from the first page of his chapter on scenes. I think they're good guidelines to keep in mind as we write and revise.

                                            ~  ~ ~ ~ ~
"A good plot is about disturbances to characters' inner and outer lives."

"Scenes are what we use to illustrate and dramatize those disturbances. "

"Readers may be willing to forgive other writing sins if they are reading scenes that plop them down on an emotional roller coaster."

"If you can make each one of your scenes truly unforgettable, you can write an unforgettable novel."
                                               ~  ~ ~ ~ ~

I know that I am working a lot in scenes on my current project, hoping that I will figure out how to link them all together when some time along the way. And when I write a scene I am almost always writing about a conflict of some kind. Some conflicts are larger than other but there is always, I think in the strong scenes, a conflict.

Think about the project you are working on right now. Are your scenes unforgettable? Do you have any tips about writing scenes to share?

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There are so many stories only you can tell.Tell them, please.


( 7 comments — Leave comment )
June 18th, 2008 02:30 pm (UTC)
I think that's what I'm trying to do now. I think I do have many unforgettable, or at least stick-in-the memory scenes, but I don't think I had them at the beginning (BIG problem!). So I'm really trying to get those strong and tight &, yes, emotional.

For me, the emotional ups & downs come from watching the hero, in each scene, go after a strong, strongly needed goal and then not get there, or least not without a LOT of difficulty.
June 20th, 2008 04:38 am (UTC)
That's what revision is all about, isn't it?

Yes, I like that too, you think in the scene that he really is going to succeed this time and usually he doesn't and that tension of will he or won't he is what makes us turn the page.
June 18th, 2008 03:17 pm (UTC)
I just read PLOT & STRUCTURE (for the first time) yesterday! I'm so looking forward to trying out the tips I read.
June 20th, 2008 04:39 am (UTC)
Good luck on pulling it all together.
June 18th, 2008 04:37 pm (UTC)
I think my scenes are unforgettable and I do try to make sure every one gets done in an entertaining way. I know I fall short though. A lot.

These are some great tips!
June 20th, 2008 04:40 am (UTC)
That's great if you know that you are writing unforgettable scenes. I am never quite sure. :-)

What do you most struggle with in your writing?
June 20th, 2008 05:22 am (UTC)
Ick. No, I meant because I think they are I have trouble seeing their flaws. What's unforgettable to me is never so to others. I mean nobody seems to ever want to just talk and talk about my books and characters like I do. ;-)

I struggle with descriptions the most though. I'm not a fan of them when I'm reading so I have trouble writing them too.
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Who am I?I was born on the Cancer/Leo cusp and share a birthday with Ernest Hemingway and Robin Williams. The similarities don't stop there as I can go from depressed to ecstatic without ever passing go. I feel scared most of the time though my friends call me brave and I find it easier to believe in my friends than to believe in my own abilities to make what I want out of my life.

Who am I? A wife, a mother, a daughter, and even, gulp, a grandmother.

Who am I? A writer who never gets tired of playing with words, even when the words are hard to find. A writer of books for children and articles for grown-ups and many things in-between.

Who am I? A motivational speaker, writing instructor, workshop leader and full-time follower of dreams.

Who am I? Read and find out.

Susan Taylor Brown

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