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Once Upon A Novel: Scene

The perfect scene creation can give your book high regard among your readers. This is where you can glue them in closer than a vampire at sundown. Just as bricks are used to erect beautiful buildings and spectacular hotels, they too can be used for ordinary construction. As an author, you’ll want to be excellent in laying the bricks in order to captivate and enchant your readers. Scenes build your novel bit by bit and give your audience a glimpse into the unknown story (formed in your head) one brick at a time. Here, you can manipulate what a reader (and character) know, when they know and how they get to know.

Scene creation can be challenging, but it isn’t difficult. At least it wasn’t for me! With a bit of practice, writer’s instinct and proper research, new authors can be able to figure this out. Don’t slack though, you need to put in the work. It is rewarding to hear readers applaud the free-flowing plot in your novel. With scenes, you should figure out how to pace them, introduce characters and view a plot or conflict from a character’s perspective.

Think of scenes like a chess game; All the pieces, every move is linked, whether the powerful queen has zipped and felled a rook across the board or the feeble pawn has moved one step forward. Every move creates conflict and puts your king in danger. But you risk it, all for winning the game. The best players visualize ten possible steps before they even move a piece and every step tinkers with a bigger role in the main game. Great writers know how to make their readers glued to their book by using carefully curated scenes.

How? Here are a few tidbits to help you create better scenes!

1. A Scene’s Secondary Purpose

Every scene in a novel must be in its basic and simplistic form, a vehicle for moving the plot along. Without this fundamental requirement, a scene is purposeless and will most likely lack any kind of direction. That’s the primary purpose. The purpose of your scene apart from its root intent is set by the characters, a conflict or a significant event such as a natural disaster or man-made events. This is what I call, the secondary purpose.

The secondary purpose could be anything from introducing a character to presenting a conflict. It could be time for the antagonist to finally come into his own or realizing a flaw in your protagonist. Perhaps a new overbearing law has been introduced by a wicked ruler or the rightful king rises to take the throne. Every scene needs a secondary purpose.

2. Set out characters necessary for the particular scene

Do I need to explain this? You cannot have all your characters in all your scenes. This is not a stage play! Organize the bare minimum characters for a particular scene. If a character doesn’t add anything to the scene, chuck him!

3. Amplify conflict

Remember in #1 when we talked about a scene’s secondary purpose? Amplifying conflict should be your unspoken third purpose for every scene. Take advantage of having specific characters in a particular scene to enhance their conflict and increase the suspense and enjoyability of your scenes.

A Loot Train Battle Scene from HBO’s Game Of Thrones

Let’s take the examples in #1; When the antagonist comes to his own, make him have to completely lose his humanity. Conflict. As readers discover your protagonist’s flaw, make it discoverable to the antagonist too. Conflict amplified. The wicked ruler introduces an overbearing decree but it catches his own son on the wrong side of the law. Double conflict. Or the rightful ruler rises to the throne only to realize that he has to commit murder to cement his rule. CANFLICT.

4. Determine POV for each scene

Unfortunately, I learnt this well into writing my first novel, which meant I had to rewrite most of the scenes I had done! πŸ€¦πŸΎβ€β™‚οΈThe good thing is with just a few tweaks and some getting used to, this isn’t such a difficult trick to learn. You will find that using POV for every scene will increase the genuineness of your characters. readers will connect with them effortlessly.

What does writing in POV mean exactly? In simple terms, Point of View means the voice you write your novel in. In fiction, you will most likely use the third person point of view. Which means the narrator of the story is not in the novel but narrates and coveys the actions of characters. Beyond this, each scene should be directed by a character in the novel so that we experience the development of the plot from the character.

You can learn more about Point Of View in fiction here.

5. Start exceptionally, end impeccably

Look at the beginning of this excerpt from LOKe;

“They were both perplexed to a brief silence. Who was this fishman speaking with calmness and assuredness? That would rather die than be set free by a Drymen? The sun chief thought. And they formed a kind of bond. A mutual admiration and respect for one another was created in that threadbare tent……”

And the end;

β€œ………This should suffice,” he readied himself, β€œI am Prince Tomas of the Lwo, the son of King Kano and heir to the throne over all the Lwo Land!”

Doesn’t this make you curious? Don’t you have a lot of questions? Don’t you want to know what will happen next? Capture the reader with a great start to a scene and finish it stealthily so that they beg for more. If you can, always begin your scene calling to your reader’s attention and end your scene with a heavy dose of suspense.

Happy writing!

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