• The Write Way

How to write a scene : 5 steps

  • What needs to happen in this scene?

Plotting is important. Why? Because you need to be in charge of your story. I was one of these authors that let the “characters lead”. And I found out that I just kept shooting myself in the foot. I would get stuck. The characters would stop talking to me and ultimately the manuscript would strand, half written, in a corner of my computer’s D-Drive.

This obviously is not what I was hoping for. I started reading up on writing – and especially following true with your book. One of the first points almost every book makes is: Plot your f’ing book!

Writing a book is like building a house. You are not going to put your toothbrush and shower gel in the bathroom while the Livingroom and bedroom still have to be built. Try to build the skeleton of your house: the outer walls and the inner walls, before you start decorating.

So, this brings us to the first tip of writing a scene: ask yourself what is going to happen in this scene. This way you can build the scene around these points.

  • Would the story be the same if this scene gets deleted?

It is important that your book is to the point. Even when writing literary fiction, you must be sure that every character and every scene contributes to the story. If it doesn’t it is time to delete it.

I know it can be hard. I know the scene might be funny or dramatic or you might think it contains some of your best writing… hate to brake it to you but, you should hit that delete button!

Put the drama, the comedy and your best writing in scenes that matter to your story.

  • Who needs to be in the scene?

Putting too many characters into a scene will often mean the scene gets confusing and It will also mean your characters are maybe not doing anything. If they have no place in the scene, leave them out.

  • Where should the scene take place?

The setting of a scene, the location, is very important. Try to surprise your readers. Father and son bonding in a slaughter house is different than at a bowling alley. Both have a different meaning. Try to convey this into the setting of your scene. Try to be creative!

  • Is this a long scene or a short scene?

Look at the pace of your book and the importance of the scene to figure out if this is a short or a long scene. How important is the scene? Is there a lot of emotion? Will this scene determine the rest of the book? Ask yourself up front: How many pages do I really want to sacrifice for this scene?

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How to write a scene by Lieze Neven

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