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Friday, August 20, 2010

Writing a Scene, How I Start part 3

My novel Centurion
It would be impossible for me to tell you everything you need to know to write a scene.  There is already a lot of great writing on this specific subject.  What I will try to do is tell you how I write a scene.   First, I need an input and an output.  The scene has to have something that is the cause of it--that is the input.  It has to have an end with a potential transition to the next scene.  You can see the input is driven by the previous scene transition (or by another earlier scene transition--your scenes don't necessarily have to be back to back).  So to start a novel, your first scene must have an implied or explained transition from the imagined scene before.  You detail this at some point in the novel or the first scene, but that's getting into the details--I'll stick a little higher than that for now.  You could call the input to the scene the "why" of the scene.  The "why" is necessary, but the most important part of a scene is the "what."  The what of a scene is what happens to entertain the reader and drive the plot.  I develop a scene around this singular "what."  The "what" can be an event, a revelation, a conversation, an adventure, a joke, whatever.  The most important key is that the "what" must be entertaining to your reader.  It should draw emotion and or excitement.  For example, in the first scene to Dana-ana, the main character Dana is accused of stealing lunches and is about to be beaten for it.  There is the excitement.  The reader has no idea who this Dana-ana person is, but already the novel jumps into adventure and danger.  Within the scene, I put all kinds of information for the reader.  That's what is so great about a scene--in it you show the reader what is going on, but at the same time, you can reveal important information for the plot and theme of the novel.  So, the most important thing to me in writing is to entertain my reader--the scene is the mode I employ.  Each scene must be entertaining.  If it is not entertaining, there is no purpose in the writing.  I'll go into more detail tomorrow on the scene.

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