Return to Content How to write a scene: Purpose and structure Knowing how to write a scene is a crucial skill for writing a novel. Scenes are the basic building blocks of plot. Read this guide for tips on writing scenes, including how to start and end scenes, as well as scene-planning and structuring tips.
Subscribe to our FREE email newsletter and download free character development worksheets! Chuck Sambuchino July 27, Fight scenes are dangerous territory for writers.
In reality, though, readers tend to skip over fight scenes — skimming the long, tedious, blow-by-blow descriptions in favour of getting back to the dialogue and character-driven drama that truly engages them in the story.
This means having to ensure that every piece of action is vital and engaging; it means that every duel must draw the reader in and not let them go until the end.
So how do you keep the pacing, flow, and more importantly, the drama moving forward with so many fights? Sebastien is excited to give away a free copy of his novel to a random commenter.
Comment within 2 weeks; winners must live in the US to receive the book by mail. Column by Sebastien de Castellwho had just finished a degree in archaeology when he started work on his first job.
Four hours later he realized how much he hated archaeology and left to pursue a very focused career as a musician, ombudsman, interaction designer, fight choreographer, teacher, project manager, actor, and product strategist.
The swashbuckling fantasy was recently praised by NPR. Connect with the author on Facebook or Twitter. Make every fight advance the plot No matter what you might think, violence is actually boring. Only when one of the brutes is smaller, weaker, and trying desperately to stay alive long enough to let his people know that the enemy is coming does the action start to matter to the reader.
Sometimes the fight provides a crucial piece of information about the antagonist such as a particular type of cut they make that could explain the wounds on a victim the protagonist discovered in the previous chapter.
The fight might also wound your protagonist, slowing them down in later scenes and giving you a chance to make their lives harder and therefore increase the suspense. Reveal character through action The way your protagonist fights — and when they choose to fight or walk away — tells the reader a great deal about them.
Your hero might be a skilled but retiscient warrior or they could be an amateur but with a bloodthirsty streak that comes out when confronted with violence.
Think about what the action reveals in those watching the fight.
Does the seemingly helpful mentor figure suddenly become enraptured watching the blood flow? Do the innocent bystanders just sit there or do they scramble to help? Fight scenes that reveal character are by far the most compelling ones for readers — they get to investigate your characters by seeing how they deal with violent situations, allowing you to follow that classic dictum of modern writing: But perhaps your genre is gritty historical fiction.
If so, the last thing you want to do is break suspension of disbelief. You have to carefully ensure that the weapons and fighting styles are true to your era note: Make every fight unique I read a YA fantasy recently in which almost every fight involved the main character jumping up and spinning in the air to kick opponents in the face usually two or three.
By contrast, think of a movie like The Princess Bride, in which every fight is special — every conflict is resolved using different means, whether trickery or skill or simply iron-willed determination.
Let the reader choreograph the action If you describe every action of the fight, not only will you bore the reader but your pacing and flow will fall apart. So think of your job not so much as having to meticulously choreograph the fight but rather to give the reader enough insight into the action that they can build the scene in their minds.
Show them early on in the fight how each weapon moves through space—make that vivid and visceral. Make the reader feel as if they could actually pick up that weapon and defend themselves even just a little bit. In other words, help the reader to choreograph the fight so that you can spend your time on the drama.
This also lets you vary the length of your fight scenes, which helps to keep them from becoming predictable. Think of it this way: Make your fights into a conversation spoken with actions in which the real conflict is happening in the hearts of the characters and in which the reader themselves are helping to tell the story.
Need help crafting an awesome plot for your story? Check out the new acclaimed resource by Ronald Tobias, 20 Master Plots.In writing action scenes, the pace must speed up, to match that of the scene. In order to do this, keep descriptions of anything besides the action to a minimum.
For instance, this is not the place for long descriptions of a setting or a character. An Illustrated Guide to Writing Scenes and Stories Jeff VanderMeer explains the ins and outs of using scenes in imaginative fiction The writing workshop/lecture Wonderbook: Scenes is an edited version, using as its starting point the transcript of a version presented at the Arkansas Book Festival in The Ten Best Weather Events in Fiction.
Examining weather scenes in fiction yields a wealth of deep symbolism and gripping plot devices.
novelists have used the weather as a symbol and a. Sometimes our fiction writing projects dry up. The characters turn out to be flat, the plot becomes formulaic, and the story suddenly seems lackluster. This is when a lot of writers give up and file their half-finished manuscripts into a bottom drawer never to be seen again.
What a waste of time and. About Symbols A literary symbol is something that means more than what it is; an object, person, situation, or action that in addition to its literal meaning suggests other meanings as well.
Often, the thing or idea represented is more abstract, general, non- or super-rational; the symbol is . About Symbols A literary symbol is something that means more than what it is; an object, person, situation, or action that in addition to its literal meaning suggests other meanings as well.