The rise and fall of scenes

Arch against the sky

I like to take on board writing advice that makes sense to me but sometimes it can take me a while to see how to apply it to my work. Persevering with this has resulted in some real breakthroughs for me so I do believe it’s worth it. One thing I’m struggling with at the moment is the movement and pacing of scenes. I have realized that I tend to write scenes as a section of time, usually in one place. So it’s a bit like a play – one scene happens in one setting and at one point in time. I find however that this doesn’t make it easy to have a good pacing of action. I have been pondering…

  • Jody Hedlund on “Practical ways to keep your readers hanging from a cliff” (which has a great list of possible cliffhangers). This makes me consider my scenes in terms of them having a beginning, middle and end; a pace of action; a mini-story in themselves. On the other hand, that pacing may not fit in one setting at one point of time. Have I boxed myself in too much?
  • Writer Unboxed’s “Love every word” (“Every scene can and should be a favorite scene–a ‘good part.’ “). I do have some scenes that I love – what’s missing from the other ones? Can I change something?

Maybe I should try writing scenes differently, work on the narrative arc as the basis and not confine it by time and place? Maybe I should stick with my current setting and just craft the narrative better so that it gives a “read on” hook at the end but at the moment this feels quite unnatural sometimes. I’m thinking about submitting some scenes for critique which will place a real demand on them as a standalone piece of work. A good challenge!

I write and learn…perhaps not fast enough!


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