Friday, 2 August 2013


Here's some advice on making a scene - in the UK that means that someone is misbehaving in some way - but in the context of writing a novel, the scene begins when the blue touch-paper has already been lit - not on the trip to the firework shop. (I'm quoting here from The road to Somewhere. I told you it was an entertaining read.)

Ha ha, I groan. The scene may well have a hook to ensnare the reader. It will often have a reversal for the protagonist. If it starts well, then the scene must end badly for him, and vice versa.
Narrative tension should rose steadily in the scene. It should not be static, but neither will it leap from low level to nuclear alert and counting.
As a scene develops, it often starts to read faster - shorter sentences, dialogue and paragraphs.
The scene needs some kind of climax -  revelation, a cliffhanger, or a hook that demands the reader shall read on.
As soon as possible after the climactic moment, the scene will end. In other words, don't hang about saying Goodbye - head for the door and depart!

Pacing is a skill that some instinctively have and others must learn. A sense of place is important in novels, but chunks of description don't always achieve it. How many times have you let your eye skim over a whole paragraph or even a page of description to get to the action? I know I have. This is where pacing comes into its own. Try inserting small pieces of description into the action and dialogue where it is sure to be read and doesn't slow the action more than a tad.


Jen Black said...

Good points you made in the post and all very true - loved the firework analogy - - and who thought
writing was so complicated - pace, hook, dialogue, tension, revelation, climax whew!!!

Wonder why we even get started!


Jen Black said...

I find that people comment when my post shows up on the Facebook page, so I'm transferring the comments as they seem to have difficulty.
The last comment was from Anita Davison, the accomplished author of "Royalist Rebel."

Ursula Thompson said...

I never think about those things - maybe I should start. I just have the feeling it would stop me from accomplishing anything.

Jen Black said...

Just being aware helps and soon they become ingrained - I hope!