Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Scene structure -- writing tip

Question: When I was your student you talked a lot about writing in scenes and scene structure, so I always try to be careful about that in my own writing. But recently, I bought a book from a self-published author for my Nook. It was a good enough story, but there were scene breaks all over the place, and scenes with two or three lines, then another break, with no apparent reason. At first, I thought the writer just didn't understand scenes, but he had viewpoint down, and that's harder to do than scene structure. Have I missed a new trend?

Answer: The rules haven't changed. Scenes are still required to have structure and only one viewpoint character per scene. My best guess is (and it IS a guess, since I have NO IDEA what book you are talking about) the author edits in a scene break whenever the viewpoint changes, with no regard to scene structure and it's requirements.

Doing that will keep the viewpoint critics off his back. And help protect him against sneering reviews on that score. But it may get him reviews that have the words "choppy," "disjointed," and "disconnected" in them.

My best advice is not to disregard either of those rules as book reviewers tend to jump on them.

Every scene has the same structure. Here it is:
1. Transition, preferably with hook.
2. Rising action and dialogue
3. Turning point of the scene
(The turning point is the place where something changes forever. If there's no point, the scene goes, no matter how well written)
4. End/resolution of the scene, preferably with another hook. Usually when we come to the end of a scene,

* * *

we indicate the scene break with the double line break, at least two extra lines of "white space" and most people use the three stars, a line, or some other indication, in case the word processing program closes up blank lines automatically.

No comments:

Post a Comment