I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: each scene is unique from the rest. However, cliches and tropes are everywhere. There’s nothing wrong with them as long as they’re used in a unique way, a special way that tricks your readers into thinking it’s never been done before. With that said, there are some dos and don’ts of writing opening scenes.
Start with the story you’re currently telling. Your readers came to find out what’s up with the blurb on the back of the book.
Start with a dream or flashback sequence. Your protagonist doesn’t need to wake up from having the “same dream.”
Open with some sort of action or conflict. Draw the readers in right away with some tension making them wonder what it’s all about.
Open with too much scenery or talk about the weather. The description is good, but sometimes we don’t need to know it right away. It can easily be woven into the story throughout.
Introduce the protagonist. Let the reader know right away who they’re going to be learning about, who they’re going to be journeying with and why they should care about that particular protagonist.
Introduce too many characters at once. A couple characters can be introduced for sure, but you don’t want to bombard your readers with too many names.
I could go one with more dos and don’ts of writing opening scenes. But I won’t. In the end, you should take this advice with a grain of salt and do what you think is best for your book.
Do you have a few ways to write opening scenes? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below and if you enjoyed this post, please share it around.
So here we are. Halfway through July, which means we’re halfway through 2018. I’m not sure how that happened, but I’m going to continue making the most of each day and work hard toward my goals. I have a lot I want to accomplish this year. Here’s how I’m doing so far.
We’re almost done with our second and final Camp NaNo session for the year. For me, I have about a week left of writing since I’ll be going on vacation the last week of the month.
I’m counting hours this month, which is something I’ve never done before. I’m editing and my goal was to edit about 2 hours a day (one hour for each project). It totaled to about 44 hours (I forget how I calculated it) and that was too much.
A lot has happened this month in real life and things have been busy. Plus, counting hours is really unmotivating. I don’t know why. I thought counting hours would be easy since it usually takes me an hour to write 2,000 words. It takes me an hour to get through a chapter of editing (sometimes). But for some reason, when counting hours, I just stare at the clock and can’t wait until I can stop writing to go play video games.
So, I dropped my hours from 44 to 31 so that I have to do an hour a day. That’s been more doable for me, though I do have a get a little ahead since I won’t be doing anything next week. Still, things are going much smoother.
George Florence & The Perfect Alibi
It’s back to the drawing board with this one. I started off the month editing, changed a bunch of stuff (meaning, the way the plot is executed) and now I’ve written myself into a hole. I was retyping the last draft I edited and I can’t go much further because I’ve changed too much. I have to completely rewrite about 80% of the novel.
This book just won’t end. Did you know I’ve been working on this since 2011? This will be the third time I’ve had to do a complete rewrite.
I feel I’m getting close though. I’ve started the outlining and planning process again trying to decide what to keep and what needs to be changed. I’m looking at the novel with a different approach. Hopefully, this is just what I need to finally complete this novel.
Please, let this be it.
I’m also in the editing stages of another project. I can’t say too much on this project yet as it’s exclusive for my patrons on Patreon at the moment.
If you want to learn more about the project, I encourage you to check out my Patreon where you can support the project for as little as $1 a month.
What’s in it for you if it’s only temporarily exclusive to my patrons? Well, for one they already know what the project is and they get sneak peeks of my process and where I currently am in production of the said project.
Plus, when the project is released, my patrons will get some special goodies as a special thank you for supporting me and my creative work.
This post contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase through these links I’ll make a small commission at no extra cost to you. Thanks so much for your support!
I received a free review paperback copy from the author in exchange for an honest review.
She’s not a psychic–she just plays one on TV.
Most folks associate the city of Salem, Massachusetts with witches, but for Lee Barrett, it’s home. This October she’s returned to her hometown–where her beloved Aunt Ibby still lives–to interview for a job as a reporter at WICH-TV. But the only opening is for a call-in psychic to host the late night horror movies. It seems the previous host, Ariel Constellation, never saw her own murder coming.
Lee reluctantly takes the job, but when she starts seeing real events in the obsidian ball she’s using as a prop, she wonders if she might really have psychic abilities. To make things even spookier, it’s starting to look like Ariel may have been an actual practicing witch–especially when O’Ryan, the cat Lee and Aunt Ibby inherited from her, exhibits some strange powers of his own. With Halloween fast approaching, Lee must focus on unmasking a killer–or her career as a psychic may be very short lived. . .
The cover is dark and mysterious. It shows off a lot of what the book is about – the cat, for example – and even the title hints as well.
If you know me then you know I love a good cozy murder mystery. I was asked by the author to read the series and gladly accepted.
Like most cozy mysteries, Lee Barrett doesn’t have things going the way she wanted them to. She didn’t get the job she wanted. As she leaves her interview, she stumbles upon a dead body. On the plus side, the dead body was one of the workers so Lee ends up with a job in the end.
Things begin to get strange around the news station and, as Lee researches witchcraft and psychics for her job, she discovers some things about the people she works with and ends up investigating the murder case as well.
This adds a new twist on paranormal mysteries as Lee is pretending to be a psychic for her audience on her TV gig and find the true nature of her job as the people around her.
All the characters were wonderfully written. I didn’t have a problem with any of them. They all had unique voices and personalities. Aunt Ibby, Lee’s aunt who she lives with, is an awesome character. She was very supportive and likable. I’m sure Aunt Ibby was my favorite character.
Every character has a purpose, though by the end of the book there were some characters who seemed to have disappeared. Scott Palmer, the man who got Lee’s job in the first place, had a lot of meaning the beginning and then just seemed to fall off the face of the earth by the end.
Oh, and O’Ryan the cat. He was truly my favorite, the MVP.
I enjoyed the author’s writing style. There’s a good balance between dialogue and description, though more on the description end. The picture was painted well and the author had great knowledge of the setting of the book, Salem, MA.
The story flowed well and went at a nice pace with a good amount of tension and funny moments. It was an easy read and was a decent length at nearly 400 pages.
This was a great first installment for a mystery series. It was a fun mystery to figure out and, now that it’s finished, I’m remembering some clues that would have helped me figure it out sooner. It was well put together. I’m looking forward to the next book.
Caught Dead Handed (Witch City Mystery 1) by Carol J. Perry gets… 4 out of 5 cups
“She held up a well-manicured hand and began counting on cerise nail-polished fingers.” –Carol J. Perry, Caught Dead Handed (Witch City Mystery 1)
Writing a scene isn’t as easy as it sounds. We write them automatically into our stories, but are we really writing the scenes to the best of our ability? Do they make sense to our readers? Do some scenes need to be included in the first place? Not one scene is the same from another, but the process can be similar. Here are some tips on writing a great scene.
1. Find the purpose
What’s the purpose of the scene? Where are your characters and why are they there? What are they doing and why? The scene needs to have a meaning behind it. It either needs to show some character development and/or move the plot forward. Or else, why would your audience care to read it?
2. Show the tension at the end
To go along with the purpose of the scene, something big must happen that transitions to the next scene. Usually, this is some sort of high moment that can leave the reader gasping. This can often be left at the end of the scene making the reader want to read on to the next scene or chapter.
3. Describe the inner and outer conflict
There’s always something going on in our minds, whether it’s positive thoughts or negative. Worry or wondering. Planning or daydreaming. Your characters have a purpose as does the plot. What’s the inner and outer conflict of the story? The scene can show off both or just one for the time being, but at least one should be addressed.
4. Express the characters’ emotional state
What happens in this scene that effects the characters? Something good or bad usually happens that changes the characters’ emotional state. It may add to their reason for doing what they’re doing in order to make the plot move forward. This can be something as simple as escaping from a following or something as drastic as a character death.
5. Detail sensory and texture clues
Painting the picture for your readers is key to having a well rounded, in-depth scene. Allow your audience to see, feel, smell, hear, and taste what your characters are feeling and seeing, etc. Bring your readers into the action beside the characters and allow them in your world.
Of course, there are many other things that can go into writing a scene. I personally feel as though these are the big ones. Each scene is unique from all the rest but they’re all made up of the same matter.
What do you include in your scenes? Did I miss anything? Let me know in the comments below. If you liked this post, please share it around.
Tanner ran down the stairs, past the kitchen, through the living room, and dashed out the front door. He didn’t even bother to call goodbye to his mother or father. They both had a day off from work so they were most likely still sleeping anyway. If anything, they woke up to the front door slamming behind Tanner. Not that he had meant to slam it shut so loudly, but he was in such a rush that he wasn’t thinking.
He ran down the street trying to keep his breathing steady as he sprinted. He knew well enough to keep a good pace and to remember to breathe while running, but he needed to go fast. He had slept in way too late and now his legs and lungs were going to have to pay for it.
As he ran, Tanner thought back to his parents encouraging him to join the track team at school. He was a fast kid. He needed to be since he was late everywhere he went. However, he didn’t feel the need to join the team since he practically ran every day anyway.
His parents had wanted him to learn how to run properly though. He sprinted everywhere he went taking occasional breaks to catch his breath. They knew, and so did he, that he probably pushed his body too much when trying to get where he needed to go. If he was going to run and run fast, they preferred it be on a track with a coach to monitor him and make sure he didn’t make himself pass out.
Then again, none of this would be needed if his parents had just bought him a car. He had gotten his license right at the age of 16 and was excited to drive himself to school. He was excited to take his friends out after school to hang out. Of course, both his parents worked and actually had lives themselves so they always had their cars. Tanner wasn’t able to drive their cars except on the weekends and even then his parents were a little iffy because there were always errands that needed to be done.
Tanner still had to take the bus to school every morning because both of his parents had to be at work before school started. The thing was, Tanner always overslept so he usually missed the bus. How did he get to school? He ran.
He was getting tired of it. He knew it was his own fault that he kept hitting the snooze button on his alarm clock, but he was a teenager. People didn’t really expect him to be punctual, did they?
Now it was Saturday morning, the universal day for all teenagers to sleep in until noon. It was his only day to sleep in – well, he slept in every day, but it was his only day that he could actually sleep in without having to worry about being late anywhere. His parents made him go to church on Sundays so didn’t have the entire weekend to sleep.
Here he was, up fairly early on a Saturday morning having to run because he’s parents wouldn’t buy him a car. No, he needed to get a job. He had to run to his job because he didn’t have a car. It was a vicious cycle.
Tanner, still running down the street, took his phone out of his pocket and checked the time. At this speed, he’d make it in five minutes and he needed to be at the store in ten minutes. Hopefully, he’d be fine.
The upside to all this was he was in great shape.
He made it to the store and walked through the front door breathing heavily. He smiled at a woman behind the counter who stared at him with raised eyebrows.
“You’re not the new hire, are you?” she asked.
Tanner frowned and looked down at himself.
The downside to this was he was sweating through his uniform.
I hope you enjoyed the story! Let me know in the comments below. If you liked this post, please share it around. Also, check out the other Short Story Sundays I’ve done!
Evie is safe home, but her heart remains in e.scape. She’s desperate to return, but the app that transports her has corrupted in the great reboot.
When besotted geek, Lionel, offers to help, he doesn’t just restore the gateway as she had planned. He opens up a series of revelations that calls into question everything Evie treasures in life. With a momentous discovery to be unearthed in the virtual realm, and an e.scape fugitive on the loose in reality, can our sidelined schoolgirl save not one world but two?
The cover intrigues me (both the front and the back) because it shows off the main characters and even shows off how the story will go, though you don’t realize it until you read the book.
I read Username: Evie a while ago and enjoyed it. So I was interested in continuing with the series.
I have to be honest. There’s a lot of build up to the plot and then not much happens. Evie manages to get back into e.scape and meets up with some old friends along with some new ones. When some people from e.scape end up reality, they mistakenly hunt for one of their own so he doesn’t destroy reality.
This isn’t a bad plot and it had a lot of potential, but it wasn’t executed as well as it could have been. There was a lot of build up to bring tense moments and then those moments ended up be pretty anti-climactic.
I didn’t mind the characters. Evie was a little bland this time around as was her estranged mother. I think Mallory, Evie’s cousin, was my favorite character. She’s a pain but, in a way, she ended up being the real hero. The hero that no one else seems to recognize.
The coded characters from e.scape were good as well, but I felt as though I was expected to care about them by the end and there just wasn’t enough time for me to develop feelings for me.
As a graphic novel, a lot of the story is told through the pictures. The art was my favorite part. I love the style. I wish I could say more about it, but I don’t know too much about art to sound sophisticated about it.
The dialogue is just as good too. The characters told the story well. My only nit-pick was that a lot of the characters had thought bubbles, usually with a sarcastic quip. I felt as though that was thrown in just for a chuckle, but it didn’t do anything to me. I didn’t care to be inside every character’s heads for no reason – especially when the pictures say it all with their facial expressions.
This was still an enjoyable read though it didn’t live up to the first book. I definitely wanted to see more action and feel more tension. However, if you read the first book or if this sounds intriguing to you at all, feel free to give it a shot.
Username: Regenerated by Joe Sugg gets… 3 out of 5 cups
“A crush can be fun, until it becomes a monster.” –Joe Sugg, Username: Regenerated
It’s my pleasure to welcome Crystal Roman to my blog!
Famous writers and masterminds created their own daily routine, balanced between work and leisure, to find sources of inspiration.
A daily routine is something we all have to follow in order to manage daily chores and work more or less effectively. The basis of everyday life is habits and rites, which we can borrow from others or invent some ourselves. Great writers coped with the same difficulties that we are dealing with today, no matter how brilliant they were.
In today’s post, we would like to expand on how to find the strength to write daily, how to keep a balance between work and leisure and how to manage time effectively. In addition, you might want to see this post and learn how to study more effectively.
During life, a person invents their own effective time management strategies. These strategies can be infinitely diverse: a thing that works for one person will not work for the other. Gustave Flaubert, for example, could only write at night, as during the day, he would get distracted from work by the slightest noise. Günther Grass replied to this that it’s impossible to write at night. Although you might have some inspiration at that time, when you read your text in the morning, it will be no good. Therefore, he only started to work in daylight to stay time effective.
Modern American writer Nicholson Baker has come up with time management techniques to accommodate two whole mornings in one day. His usual day begins with the fact that he wakes up at four or half past four AM. He writes something, while sometimes drinking coffee. He writes for about an hour and a half, and then, he goes back to sleep waking up around half past eight.
Interestingly, many creative people experienced problems with sleep. For example, William James was forced to lull himself with chloroform for a quite some time, while Franz Liszt walked restlessly around the room at night and tried to compose music. Charles Darwin would meditate on some scientific problem for a long time even when he was lying in bed at night already. So much for effective time management.
Some found the traditional sleep regime uncomfortable or not effective enough when tasked with the “how to plan your day” question. American architect and inventor Buckminster Fuller came up with an effective planning scheme for “high-frequency” sleep: he fell asleep for a short time during the day, feeling tired, and then again returned to work. As his biographer J. Baldwin notes, Fuller “frightened the observers, plunging into sleep for a few moments, as if he was pushing the switch button in his head. It happened so quickly that it seemed more like a fit. ”
In contrast, Renee Descartes used a time planner and slept every day for ten to eleven hours and allowed himself to wander through the woods, orchards and bewitched castles, where he tasted “all imaginable joys.” Some relaxation and idleness, in his opinion, is necessary for a good work of the mind.
Many writers, artists and thinkers preferred lean and light food: Picasso, for example, ate only vegetables, fish, rice, and grapes. However, Francis Bacon had two or three lavish meals a day and drank up to half a dozen bottles of wine. This did not impede his work, and he argued that he liked working hungover because the brain was full of energy and all the thoughts were more distinct than ever.
Honore de Balzac consumed up to 50 cups of the strongest coffee a day in order to maintain the right amount of energy. In addition to this, Wisten Hugh Oden was also taking amphetamines daily and called his regular diet consisting of alcohol, coffee, tobacco, and amphetamines labor-saving supplies.
Tobacco in, general, can be considered one of the most common stimulants. Sigmund Freud, who smoked almost all his life, even lamented his seventeen-year-old nephew, who refused to smoke cigarettes.
The Bohemian way of life, which is often adhered to by creative people such as writers, makes them more prone to drinking and drugs. However, there are exceptions here. For example, Ingmar Bergman always worked sober and even drunken alcoholic Francis Scott Fitzgerald in later years said that it became clearer to him that writing a long story, as well as the subtle perception and judgment during editing, are incompatible with drinking.
Here you can recall the famous statement made by Ernest Hemingway: “Write drunk, edit sober.” For some, a slight intoxication is not bad, but for others, a clear and calm mind is required when writing. In such a case, it is better to drink just green tea. If you still have trouble with your writing, though, you could check out this website to get essay writing help.
A timely rest for writers is no less important than concentration. It is very easy to get carried away in some book, but you need also to find some time to relax, which could be arranged with the help of some good daily schedule planner.
Beethoven would go out for a long walk after lunch if he were stuck with some task, which lasted almost the rest of the day. Another amateur walker Søren Kierkegaard in between work went around the whole of Copenhagen not bothering much on how to improve time management. Benjamin Franklin took air baths for about an hour in the morning and then doze for a while.
Like all of us, the great minds also suffered from a lack of concentration and procrastinated for the lack of a weekly schedule planner. The problem of procrastination was very troubling, for example, for William James. He was a university professor and often postponed the preparation of lectures until the last minute.
For many intellectuals leading a secular lifestyle, rest is all about night binges, receptions of guests, trips to restaurants and bars. However, there are less tiring ways to relax. For example, Francis Bacon read cookbooks before going to bed. Woody Allen sometimes took a shower several times a day to escape from work, and David Lynch practiced transcendental meditation.
Summing up, we hope that this post encompassing mostly writers along with other great minds demonstrated how differently they went about organizing their own time management plan and daily routine. You may want to make use of some of their habits and see which work for you the best. Another option is to go for some work schedule maker, which you can find online.
About Crystal Roman
Crystal Roman is an American writer who works in the whodunit genre. In his spare time, he helps out university students at TypeMyEssays with their essays and other types of academic works.
How do you organize your writing schedule? Let us know in the comments below. If you liked this post, please share it around. Also, you can check out the other Guest Posts that have been featured on this blog! If you’d like to be a guest blogger on here yourself or ask me to write a post for you, you can check out the Guidelines.
We’ve established what to include in each scene of your novel, but there are many different types of scenes. Each type has a purpose and a lot of them are needed in order to drive the plot forward.
Often one of the first scenes in a story. The introduction shows off the characters, background, setting, and more. It introduces and sets up the story for the reader.
Exposition & Preparation
The exposition is where the necessary information is explained to the characters and to the reader. It’s where the conflict is seen. The preparation is where the characters make plans on how to deal with the conflict. They’re prepping for a journey or for a fight or anything that will resolve the conflict.
If this was a movie, this is most likely where a traveling montage would occur with lots of panning over beautiful landscapes. The transition scene is exactly what it sounds like. The characters are on the move. This is usually a scene showcasing them moving from one place to another quickly not explaining too much since not much may happen.
Another one that sounds exactly like it says. The investigation is the characters searching for clues and trying to put together the pieces of whatever conflict they’re trying to resolve. They’re searching for information.
The big reveal! This is when the characters and the readers (or the readers first) realize something big about the conflict. There’s a discovery or they figure something out about their problem or another character – good or bad. This can be a real game changer.
Escape & Pursuit
Another one that sounds like it says. The characters are escaping from some sort of capture or they’re rescuing someone. Maybe they’re the ones pursuing someone else. There can be a car chase, anything can happen. This one is usually pretty tense with high stakes and a good amount of action.
The aftermath can be something at the end or it can be sprinkled throughout the story after certain big events happen. The aftermath shows how the characters deal with a certain situation after the fact. For example, there can be a big battle and a character dies. What do all the other characters do when the battle is over? How do they feel?
The end. There’s not too much to say about this one other than the characters have figured it out (or maybe not, depending) and the end wraps everything up nicely.
What are some other scenes I missed? Do you have a favorite kind you enjoy writing? Let me know in the comments below. If you liked this post, please share it around.