40: Make a Scene in a Good Way

Scenes are the building blocks of novel writing. If you master writing scenes, your stories will be unputdownable. Riveting. Engaging. If you are an experienced author, you know these things, but every fiction author must learn how to write a good scene.

The question of the week is: How do you know you have reached the end of a scene?

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Transcript
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Today we're kind of going back to the basics. What

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is a scene? How do you write a good scene? And when should a

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scene end? Let's find out in this episode of writing

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proceeds. Welcome to the writing pursuits podcast where authors

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like you discuss writing craft, author, life and book marketing

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strategies. I'm your host Kathrese. McKee. I own writing

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pursuits and write and produce the weekly newsletter writing

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pursuits tips for authors. In addition, I am a speculative

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fiction author, writing procedures for authors who drink

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too much coffee, endure judgmental looks from their

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furry writing companions and struggle for words. If you are a

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writer seeking encouragement, information and inspiration This

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podcast is for you. Let's get to it. Hey, writing precedes

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authors. Welcome back to the podcast. To those of you who are

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new, I want to extend a special welcome. My name is Kathrese

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McKee, and I'm glad you're here. Please leave a comment a star

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rating and follow the show to help others find writing

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pursuits. scenes are the building blocks of novel

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writing. If you master writing scenes, your stories will be

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unputdownable riveting engaging. If you are an experienced

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author, you know these things, but every fiction author must

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learn how to write a good scene. To start off, I will answer a

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newbie writers actual question. In one of the Facebook groups

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I'm in and author asked this. If you have a scene in your book

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and on one page, and a big jump in time on the next page. Do I

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need to one of those asterisks between them. First pay no

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attention to where one page ends and the next one begins. This is

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irrelevant in a digital book. And it should not matter in a

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print book either. The only good reason to indicate a scene

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change is because you have reached the end of a scene

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period. Second, no one has seen change most frequently happens.

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It most frequently happens when there is a jump forward in time,

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as they mentioned when the setting changes or when there is

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a change in point of view. Most importantly, the end of a scene

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was never happened before a choice is made. So set the scene

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created dilemma and require a choice to be made before you end

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the scene. Sounds simple, doesn't it? The choice your

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character makes doesn't have to be earth shattering, but it must

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be made. Please remember though inaction is a choice to if your

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teenage MC is viciously mocked by her arch nemesis and does not

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respond. Her silence is a choice she makes and her silence can

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have consequences. Oh yes, it definitely can. Jay Thorne

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states in his book, writing scenes, a working scene is one

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where something happens. That might sound so simple as to be

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almost foolish, but scenes with nothing happening are one of the

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most common obstacles writers face choice. Capital C is the

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most trusted tool for making sure something happens in your

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scene. Writing scenes by Jay Thorne is a book I highly

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recommend. It's straightforward and clear. And there's a

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workbook to go with it. What is a scene scenes are many stories

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and I mean in my in I stories. Many short scenes are many

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stories. They have a beginning, a middle and an end. At the end

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of each scene story, you need to provide a reason for readers to

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keep reading. If you visualize your story as if it is a movie,

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it is usually easy to tell when a scene break needs to happen.

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For example, your Regency romance novel shows a piece of

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action. Let's say the witty by play at a formal dinner party

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during the season in London, then switches to a couple of the

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ladies riding in a carriage through Hyde Park the next day.

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Not only have your characters changed location, but many hours

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have passed. Both scenes could be in the same chapter because

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you are trying to communicate a bigger piece of the overall

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story. Namely, will she or Won't she? If you have multiple scenes

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within a chapter, then each scene story should support the

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chapters bigger story like scenes chapters are short

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stories and each chapter should end in a way that compels the

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reader to turn the page. So, Miss Smyth is much taken with

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young lord Clifford at the dinner party and encourages his

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attentions. He likes her too, and they tend to tively agree to

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attend a play together.

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But the next day at the Loris points out that Lord Clifford

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has two feathers to fly with He is as poor as a church maps. One

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step ahead of his creditors should Miss Smyth except his

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invitation to see the play or send her regrets. I mean, Lord

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Clifford is poor, but he is as handsome as a God wants a girl

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to do. choices are made in each scene leading to the big

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question for the chapter, Miss Smyth decides to encourage the

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gentleman at dinner in Scene one, but in scene two, she must

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make a decision to end his pursuit or follow her heart

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choices choices. So if you have reached the end of your scene,

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then you need to indicate a scene break with some sort of

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break and a mark. Traditionally, this is indicated by three

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asterisks in a row, or a hash mark centered. When you format

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your book, you can substitute a pretty glyph to mark the end of

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each scene. If you have not reached the end of your scene,

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but the action jumps forward by a few hours, or even longer,

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then leave a blank line. indicate this to your format or

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by typing like open parenthesis space, close parentheses on one

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line by itself in your manuscript, the blank line acts

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as a soft break without interrupting the scene. I only

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recommend this if you stay in the same point of view. Another

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way to indicate a jump forward in time without a scene without

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a break, is to spell it out. For example, three hours later,

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Rachel finished sewing Rebecca's badges on to the Girl Scout

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sash. She stretched her aching neck and shoulders, no good deed

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went unpunished.

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So all you did was spell it out. It was three hours later, no big

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deal. The reader will completely understand but you don't want to

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leave them kind of wondering what just happened? What about

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those books that switch points of view POVs multiple times

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within any given scene. This is pretty common practice in

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romance novels, then no you wouldn't put in a scene break

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every time you switched POV it's not an automatic thing. My

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caution to you is to make dead certain you are skilled enough

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to pull this off. Head hopping can produce silly results and

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annoy the reader if done poorly for me personally, if I have

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multiple main characters, I usually stay in the POV of the

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main character who is most affected by what happens in the

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scene because I believe this produces a richer emotional

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experience for the reader instead of switching back and

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forth but that's just a personal choice for me as an author.

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Writing pursuits is run by Kathrese. McKee, who has been

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new level of excellence. Guthrie's is a three story

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methods certified editor who specializes in story

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diagnostics, coaching and line editing to help you prepare your

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story for the journey ahead. For more information, go to writing

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pursuits.com. The link is in the show notes. And now back to the

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podcast. Setting the scene. Okay, this is a big one please

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ground each scene in its setting. Both place and time

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establish the point of view to your reader needs to know it was

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the butler in the parlor at midnight with a candlestick.

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Setting each scene within the first three or four paragraphs

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is an important building block authors often overlook, but they

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miss the opportunity to influence the mood and emotional

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impact of the action that follows. Without setting your

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reader wanders into a white room without context. Don't do that

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to your reader. So I'll give you this example from Tony Hillerman

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Dancehall of the dead. Lieutenant Joseph Lee porn spent

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the afternoon on the ridge that overlooks the village of Zuni.

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From the south, he had picked the place carefully. It was a

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relatively comfortable spot, with soft earth under his

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buttocks, and a sandstone slab for a backrest a growth of tummy

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So in a normal opinion, made it unlikely that anyone would see

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him and wonder what the deli was doing there. And the view was

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ideal for His purpose. No, that wasn't the beginning of a book.

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That was all the way in chapter 18. But notice how Hillerman set

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the scene with time and place. And I think it was a very

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captivating beginning. So this is by no means all we could say

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about writing scenes. However, if you set the scene and tell a

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mini story with a beginning, middle and end, create a dilemma

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and forced difficult choices to be made. You are well on the way

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to creating a novel readers will love. So what do you think? How

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do you know you have reached the end of a scene? Lee If you're

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answering the comments at writing proceeds.com forward

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slash podcast, forward slash 40. And that's all I have for today.

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Until next time, keep writing. Thank you for joining us today.

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If you enjoyed this episode, please leave a comment and

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follow the podcast. If you're new around here, I hope you will

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Tips for authors that link and all the links mentioned in

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today's episode are in the show notes at writing pursuits.com.

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Please join us on Wednesdays for new episodes and keep writing my

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