8 Types Of Scenes

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.

8 Types of Scenes | Creative Writing | Novel Writing | RachelPoli.com

Introduction

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.

Transition

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.

Investigation

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.

Revelation

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.

Aftermath

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?

Resolution

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.

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5 Elements Of A Scene

A scene is something we all write in our novels, screenplays, even poetry sometimes. It’s essential to have scenes in your writing and not just one or five scenes, I mean there should be scenes all over the place. It’s nothing we really think about too much because we write them automatically. Still, there’s a way to write a good one, so here are the 5 elements of a scene.

5 Elements of a Scene | Creative Writing | Novel Writing | RachelPoli.com

Time & Place

One of the first things you want to establish in your scene is the time and place. This will show your readers where your characters are. Certain things may happen at certain times of the day as well. If they’re going to the store, what store? What time does the store open? Did your character oversleep? Are they in the middle of no where?

When writing George Florence & The Perfect Alibi I have the date, time, and place written at the beginning of each chapter. I originally did that just to help me keep the timeline straight but I think I may keep it in. It seems like a nice heading for the next part, a good time jump, and it lets the reader know when and where they are right off the bat. Especially if they go to the same place over and over again (like George’s office) there’s no need to full describe it each and every time we visit it.

A Clear Goal

Something needs to be accomplished during the scene. Why are the characters where they are? What are they trying to do? Having a clear goal gives the scene a purpose and it also aids in character development. It shows what sort of decisions they’ll make and how they’ll be under pressure in certain situations.

Conflict & Action

In order to keep the story going something needs to happen, right? There needs to be some sort of conflict or action that happens. There’s always something that gets in the characters’ way or they fail or succeed or something just happens unexpectedly.

This one can kind of go along with the goal. The characters are there for a purpose and their goal is so close, but then something gets in the way. Plans change.

Emotional Change

What’s happened to your characters as a result to something that’s happened in the scene? For example, if they couldn’t reach their goal because some sort of conflict happened, they’re certainly not going to be happy. Or what if they succeed? They will be happy but then what happens? They’re mood is going to change and that sets things up for the next scene.

A Page-Turning Ending

Each scene needs to have a clear ending. The goal, conflict, and characters can either change or stall or some can get resolved but something else comes up… the possibilities are endless. But depending on what happens, you need to make it so the reader is wants to continue reading and see what happens next to the characters.

What do you think? Did I miss anything? Let me know in the comments below. If you liked this post, please share it around.

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On Editing: Asking a Friend to Critique Your Novel

Yesterday I talked about what you should do if a friend asks you to critique their novel.

But what should you do when you ask a friend to critique your novel?

You’re not the reader this time around, you’re the writer. There’s a lot more to prepare for your novel–and yourself–when you decide to share your world with others.

On Editing: Asking a Friend to Critique Your Novel

Are you ready to show your novel to others?

Writing comes with a lot of self-doubt. You ask yourself so many questions every day you sit down to write:

“Who would want to read my story?”
“Does this even make sense?”
“My writing is terrible, my characters are flat, and the plot is ridiculous. Why did I decide to do this?”

Before you think about giving your novel to friends, family, beta-readers, or editors, make sure you’re absolutely ready to reveal your work to them.

  • Have you self-edited the book yourself a few times?
  • Do you feel confident enough to share your work with others?
  • Do you think you’ve done all you can, but still know there are some weak points in the book and you need another opinion?

You can’t write a novel and send a first draft to beta-readers and expect them to “fix it” for you. Remember, this is your story. You wrote it, you created it, final decisions are up to you.

Know your story inside and out.

If you’re looking for suggestions and you’re not sending your novel out to beta-readers or editors yet, then take this one with a grain of salt.

But, you should know your story inside and out. Someone may say, “This part doesn’t make sense.” Your answer probably shouldn’t be, “Oh, yeah. Well, I didn’t know where that part was going so that’s why I threw the ninja in. No one saw it coming. Clever, right?”

Of course, as writers our outlines change or we write blind. Fellow writers will understand that kind of comment and help you come up with a solution and different scenarios. But a non-writer, a potential reader, may not get it.

When giving your novel out for feedback, you should have a good grip on the plot, characters, and overall picture of the story. Questions will be asked and you should have a good answer.

When giving your novel to others to read and critique, have certain areas you would like them to look at. Is the main character likeable? Is there a certain scene you’re unsure about? Feel free to give them a list of critique questions to answer.

Who should you ask to read your story?

Anyone is a potential reader and there are a number of people you could ask to give you feedback on your novel.

  • Family members (writers or non-writers)
  • Friends (writers or non-writers)
  • Friends from your writer’s group
  • Blogger friends
  • Anyone else you can think of

No matter who you ask, though, their feedback will come with a certain amount of “baggage,” if you will.

Friends and family may hold back a bit since they don’t want to hurt your feelings. They’ll be supportive by praising you and telling you what they think you want to hear. It’ll definitely make you feel good, though.

Beta-readers, friends from your writer’s group, or anyone who writes will tell you like it is. In a nice way, of course, but you’ll have to be prepared for praise as well as some negative comments.

Remember, everyone is entitled to their own opinion.

Any feedback you receive, especially if it’s negative, is not said to hurt your feelings. Always remember that you have great ideas, you have a unique writing style, and you work very hard to accomplish your goals and dreams.

J.K. Rowling is rich and famous, but there are still people in the world who don’t like Harry Potter. Your book will be no different.

Your book may not be someone’s cup of coffee, but you will be someone’s favorite author one day.

How do you prepare your novel to be read by others? What experiences have you had giving your novel to others? Let me know in the comments below!

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35 Questions to Ask When Critiquing a Novel

Are you beginning the editing stage of your novel? Did someone ask you to critique their novel or are you asking someone else to critique yours?

Here are 35 questions to ask yourself to dig deeper into that story.

Editing Checklist: 35 Questions to ask when Critiquing a Novel

1. Does the opening of the story hook you? Do you want to read more? Why or why not?
2. What are the conflicts (internal and external) in the story? Is a conflict known right away? What do you see as the central conflict of the story? (Thanks, Thomas Weaver!)
3. Are there too many conflicts happening in the book at once? Or is there not enough?
4. Are all the conflicts important to the story and help drive the plot forward?
5. Is the plot clear and believable from the beginning?
6. Is the plot interesting? Will the readers be able to relate to points in the book?
7. Is the plot resolved at the end of the book? Is the reader satisfied at the end?
8. Does the author create a believable setting?
9. Is the setting vividly described? Are there too many details or not enough?
10. Is the setting, time and date period, all consistent throughout the book?
11. Are there enough locations in the book or not enough?
12. Is the protagonist clearly introduced as the main focus of the story?
13. How do you feel about the protagonist? Do you sympathize with him, care about what happens to him, and do you share his emotions? Does the character feel alive?
14. Does each character have a background, hobbies, etc.?
15. Are the secondary characters helpful and push the story forward? Do they each have a purpose?
16. Does each character grow by the end of the book?
17. Can you see the characters? Are they described well or not enough?
18. Are there too many characters or not enough?
19. Does each character have a unique voice and personality?
20. Can you hear the dialogue? Is there too much dialogue or not enough?
21. What is the point of view in the story? Is it consistent throughout the novel? Do you think the POV was a good choice for this particular story?
22. How is the pacing of the story? Does the story drag at some points? Do some parts happen too fast?
23. Is each scene easy to read and flow well right into the next?
24. Are there scenes in the book that don’t drive the plot forward?
25. Does the author show instead of tell?
26. Does the overall tone work well for the story?
27. Was the book too long or too short?
28. Did the first and last chapters work?
29. Does the title fit the plot?
30. Is the book appropriate for the targeted audience?
31. What do you think the moral of the story is? What message is the author trying to get across to their readers?
32. What’s one line that you loved for whatever reason?
33. What is the strongest part of the novel?
34. What is the weakest part of the novel?
35. What is your overall impression of the story?

Have any other questions you would ask? Let me know in the comments below and I may add them to the list!

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Smashwords

I Need A Bigger Foot….

I’m trying to buckle down and actually get my teeny tiny foot in the door of the publishing world. And when I say tiny, I mean tiny. I used to be a size 4 in kids, but when I bought shoes and sneakers a couple weeks ago, my feet shrunk to a size 2 in kids. Yeah.

Anyway, I was thinking of finally publishing something just to get my foot in the door. I think I’m going to publish just a short story or two (if the first one turns out well) instead of a full novel. I know you can set the price for something or free. Whenever I do this, I’m thinking of posting my first short story on there for free. Just so I can get the hang of things. I know nothing about business or marketing or advertising or money or…science, does that category count? See, I know nothing. Accounting! Accounting counts, right? Or would that count as money…? I’m getting off topic…

The whole point of this post is to ask for your help. I’ve looked at the Smashwords website. I’ve Googled it. The thing is, I’m not sure if half of the things I hear on Google are worthy enough to take in.

I’ve seen some blogs around WordPress talking about Smashwords and some people have some things published on there. If anyone has any information on it, any advice, please mention something on the Contact Me page of my blog. Or you could just post a comment on here if that’s easier.

Let me know your honest opinion: do you think Smashwords is good or bad? Do you have any advice for me? Do you have anything published on there? I’ve also looked into CreateSpace…if you know anything about that, that would be great, too. Which would you prefer?

I trust you guys more than Google, so any help is appreciated. Thank you in advance!