Posted in scenes

Beginning a Scene (Part II)

I posted on October 22, 2021 an article about beginning a scene with action. Continuing that, we move to beginning a scene by creating a question in the reader’s mind. This doesn’t mean that author asks a question in the first paragraph. All it means is the situation at the beginning of the scene is done in such a way that the reader must continue reading in order to find the answer to what the information at the beginning of the scene is hinting. See the example below.

Example
Dan did a double take as he glanced up at two women, a blond and a redhead, entering the club. He’d seen the blond female before but couldn’t place her. Maybe she was only a face in the crowd. A nudge on his right shoulder interrupted his thoughts.

“Hey,” said Dwayne with growing impatience. “You joinin the rest of the gang or what?”

“Yeah, yeah.” Dan turned back to the two women, but they’d disappeared. Shooting a glance in each direction proved fruitless. He ran outside and peered in each direction to no avail.

The rest of the evening, though full of laughter all around, continued to plague him as his thoughts returned to the blond.

The reader is left with a couple of questions:
1. Who is the blond woman?
2. Why is she so important?
There is enticement here. One wants to continue reading to find out who she is and what is the situation behind his familiarity of her. No action is really needed here. Although, one could easily add some to increase the velocity of the story pace.

Posted in scenes

Reaction

You’re writing a scene with an event that should strike your main character as surprising or distressing. BUT instead your character reacts in a way that makes no sense at all. Maybe you had your character have to shoot an intruder and it was the first time they had to shoot anyone. How would a person normally react in a situation like that, if it was their first time having to shoot someone?

Make sure your character who is going through that for the first time reacts the right way. If, for example, they walked away from the above situation behaving as though it was no big deal, then there better be a logical reason for them doing so. I say this because I know I would freak out if I had to shoot someone. Or I’d panic. Maybe others would become despondent or go into shock.

If your characters reactions don’t match the situation, the readers will know, and they’ll get distracted from the story. You don’t want that. It could even cause them to put it down, and you definitely don’t want that.

Posted in scenes

Beginning a Scene (Part I)

One way to begin a scene is to start with some kind of action. Readers love action. Not everyone though. Back in the day when the first movie of Speed came out with Keanu Reeves, it was heart stopping action from the word ‘go’. The elevator scene at the beginning of the movie left me breathless. Those of you who saw that movie know what I’m talking about. I then recommended the movie to my mom who, after watching the elevator scene, stopped watching the movie because it was too much of a thrill ride. God bless her. She tried.

Essentially, any scene where events are flowing at a constant/continuous pace is an action scene. Some good ways to depict action in your story include:

  • Use shorter sentences. They are easier to comprehend, and they allow for faster reading which leads to faster action (You want this).
  • Use a mixture of action and dialogue. Stay away from long descriptions. It slows down the action.
  • Don’t write what is going on inside the character’s mind at the time. These thought processes will happen before and after but not during.

Here are some types of scenes that lead to action:

  • A character or characters faced with a choice and either option is equally as tough.
  • A chase scene
  • An argument between two characters
  • A crime committed
  • Fight scene