4 Tips To Writing An Emotional Scene

“Emotional” can mean a lot of different things. You can be filled with joy or sadness, anger or envy. Cry happy tears or sob distraught. Any scene can be emotional but for many different reasons. Depending on the emotion and the tension you can get different levels of emotion as well. So, here are some tips to writing an emotional scene.

4 tips to writing an emotional scene | creative writing | writing | emotional scenes | writing tips | blogging | RachelPoli.com

Make the emotion authentic

First and foremost, you can’t force emotion. Sometimes we don’t always cry at something sad or laugh out loud at something funny. When something emotional is happening, allow your characters to talk as how people would talk in real life. The message will come across to your readers and it’ll make your characters seem more real.

Less is more

Sometimes you don’t need a super long scene to make it emotional. Something short and sweet will do nicely. You don’t need to swell on it too long. Unless something else is going to happen that would advance the plot further, you don’t need to show off every moment of the funeral.

Use your own experiences

You know how to be happy. You know how to be scared and brave when it isn’t easy to be. Take those feelings and pour it into your characters. Again, less it more. You don’t need to describe every little detail, but it definitely helps to get the idea across the paper.

Show your feelings and tell them too

One piece of writing advice I’m sure everyone is familiar with is, “show, don’t tell.” I agree with that to some extent, but when it comes to feelings and emotional scenes, you can choose to show or tell them. Showing will give a subtle feel to the readers. However, it always helps to talk about our feelings. Allowing two characters to talk to one another and describe their feelings and why will certainly add some emotion to the reader. Sometimes a little bluntness can go a long way. It doesn’t need to be a long conversation, but it can be a start.

How do you convey emotional scenes? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below and if you enjoyed this post, please share it around.

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4 Tips To Write An Action Scene

We’ve talked about different types of scenes and how there are different ways to go about writing a scene. However, what if you’re trying to write a particular kind of scene and you’ve never been in a fight before? Here’s some tips to write an action scene.

4 tips to writing an action scene | creative writing | writing | blogging | action scenes | RachelPoli.com

Research

There are so many research options out there. There’s the Internet, the library, and just reading books in your genre to see how other authors have done it. You can also go hands-on as well. If your character fights with a bow and arrow, find some archery classes in your area and see what it’s like for yourself.

Every action should advance the plot

If there’s a big battle, why? Why does the battle matter and why is it needed in the first place? You can’t have your characters fight for no reason or just for the sake of throwing some action into the mix.

Each fight should be unique from the others

Not all fights are the same. Even if you have multiple battles with the same enemy, no battle is the same. Fighting style may change, the approach to the battle will be different, and, of course, characters will die and you certainly can’t have the same character die twice, right? Well, I guess you could depending on what genre you’re writing… but hopefully you get my point.

Remember the aftermath

After every action scene whether it’s a fight or a heated argument or anything – there’s always consequences or some sort of aftermath – good or bad. Be sure to show that off.

What are some tips you have to write an action scene? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below and if you enjoyed this post, please share it around.

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21 Questions To Ask When Writing A Scene

To make sure the scenes in your novel are the best they can be, here are 21 questions to ask when writing a scene.

21 Questions to ask when writing a scene | creative writing | blogging | writing a scene | writing tips | RachelPoli.com

1. Does my scene have a strong hook to grab the reader’s attention?

2. Does my scene have a clear beginning, middle, high point, and end?

3. Is the end resolved or hanging?

4. Is the scene important to the plot? Does it move the plot along?

5. Is something revealed about any of the characters?

6. Does the scene showcase the setting at all?

7. Does the POV stay true throughout the whole scene? Is it clear who the POV character is?

8. Is there a good balance between dialogue and description?

9. Does the scene include sensory and texture detail?

10. Does the scene pick up where the last scene left off? Or is it clear time passed?

11. Is there a good transition or segway to the next scene?

12. Does the scene begin in a unique way from the few scenes before it?

13. Does the scene have any sort of twist or element of surprise? Is it meaningful enough for the themes of the book?

14. Has the inner and/or outer conflict been addressed in some way? Has it advanced the plot or any of the characters at all?

15. Does the scene have any lulls? Are there any boring words or overused words that need to be taken out?

16. Does the scene overwhelm the reader with too much detail? Does the scene have not enough detail?

17. Is the setting of the scene clear to the reader?

18. What are the stakes of the scene? What happens if the protagonist succeeds? What happens if the main character fails?

19. Is there enough action or tension to keep the reader reading?

20. Is there a good balance of emotion in the scene?

21. Do all the elements of the scene work together well to make the scene the best it can be?

Is there anything else I missed? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below and if you enjoyed this post, please share it around.

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Dos And Don’ts Of Writing Opening Scenes

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.

Dos and Don'ts of writing opening scenes | Creative writing | blogging | scene writing | RachelPoli.com

Do

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.

Don’t

Start with a dream or flashback sequence. Your protagonist doesn’t need to wake up from having the “same dream.”

Do

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.

Don’t

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.

Do

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.

Don’t

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.

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5 Tips On Writing A Great Scene

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.

5 Tips on writing a great scene | Creative Writing | Writing Tips | Scene writing | RachelPoli.com

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.

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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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How To Use The Camp Site To Your Advantage [Camp NaNoWriMo]

When it comes to writing during a NaNoWriMo month, it’s sometimes hard to stay motivated or even to just stay on task when you are motivated. Now that we’re halfway through the month, some of us may be losing steam and get stuck and don’t know what to do next.

I know a lot of people who turn off their wi-fi and disconnect from the Internet while they write so that they don’t get distracted as they try to get their daily word count in.

If this is how you work, then that’s fine. Do what you gotta do.

Still, as much as the Camp NaNo website can be distracting, it can also be a great help.

How To Use the Camp NaNoWriMo Website Your Advantage

The Cabins

Use your own cabin as a source to help you out. If you’re stuck on something in your novel, ask your cabinmates. Chances are, they may be having the same problem or have gone through it before.

Ask for advice, talk about the good things and bad things about your novel. Also, check your stats and see how you overall cabin is doing. A little competition never hurt anyone.

The Writing Resources Page

The Writing Resources page is great. There’s a list of events that you can participate in during the month as well as the “camp counselors” which are authors who give advice and pep talks throughout the month. There are also various articles about the writing process such as planning, character, dialogue, editing, and so much more.

The Camp NaNoWriMo Forums

Or you can go on the main NaNo website and check out the forums. Any will do, but there is a section for specific Camp Forums. It’s small, but you can meet many new people outside of your cabin and talk about just about anything.

Check Your Messages

Most often than not, there will most likely be a message in your inbox. It’s usually a “care package” that has a pep talk or good advice inside.

In Conclusion

I’ll admit that I don’t use the website as much as I probably should. I don’t really explore it and use the goodies that are given to me during the month.

But, when I do, I can fully admit that it helps. Whether you’re stuck or not, need motivation or not, it helps and it’s fun.

What’s your favorite part about the Camp website? Let me know in the comments below!

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Why I Outline As I Write

Most people outline before they being writing their novel.

If we learned anything last week, it’s that we can outline before, during, and after we write the novel.

This isn’t something I realized I could do until recently, though. I always thought I had to outline before I started writing. Last year for Camp NaNo I didn’t finish my outline in time and ended up outlining as I wrote the novel.

why-i-outline-as-i-write

After spending the time before the writing process to outline and adding additional writing time to outline some more as I put words to paper, I discovered a brand new world and realized that I had been outlining all wrong.

I mean, for me, anyway.

I used to outline each scene, picking out plot points and important things here and there before I began to write. Then as I wrote, I tried my best to stick to it. Of course, outlines always change and characters have a mind of their own and decide to change course without telling you.

So, as I wrote my novel I stuck with the guideline, changing it as I saw fit. I added to it when I wrote new things, rearranging the scenes, and taking some away. In the end, it was a pretty big mess. I found myself working more on the outline than the actual novel. I was spending more time trying to figure out what I was trying to say rather than just saying it.

For the next novel, I decided to outline differently. I summarized each chapter before writing as well as made a list of characters, plot points I hoped to get across, settings, and more. I realized summarizing the chapters would allow me more wiggle room rather than practically writing the story scene by scene, just minus the extra details and words.

Then I started writing.

As I wrote, I realized something else. Why can’t I map out each scene like I had before as I wrote? By the time I get to the editing stage, the scene map would be more accurate than the chapter summary allowing me to find certain points easier and understand more of what’s going on, what to edit, and how to edit.

In the end, I have a list of characters, settings, and more, alongside a rough summary of each chapter, and then an accurate map of each and every scene.

It sounds like a lot of work, but it’s actually not that bad at all. My mind works in strange ways and it helps.

So, that’s why I outline before and during the writing process. Will this work for you? I don’t know, but feel free to give it a shot. It can’t hurt.

How do you typically outline? Do you outline as you write, too? Let me know in the comments below!

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Should You Outline Before, During, Or After Writing?

We talked about researching for your novel at any time of the writing process. Research when you feel it’s right. But when should you outline for your novel?

You may be thinking, “Before you write the story… duh.”

And that would be the logical time, especially if you’re a planner. But what if you’re not a planner? Or what if you are, but your mind just works differently?

when-should-you-outline

I outline before I write and during the writing process. This is mainly because I want to remember every detail and make sure I’m making sense along the way. Plus, it helps with the editing process later on.

Outlining before writing

I’ve talked about 4 outlining methods and then 3 more methods afterward. Most of them are typically used before you write, but you can use those methods whenever you want.

I don’t think I need to tell you that outlining before you write probably makes the most sense and it’s most likely what most people do. The point of outlining is that you have a good idea of what your novel is about and where you want it to go so you don’t get stuck on the side of the writing road.

If that’s how you feel, then outlining before you begin writing the main story is a good idea.

Outlining during writing

I find it helpful to get some outlining done during the writing process. I keep a list of scenes and what happens in each one as I write them. This helps me remember what exactly happens when I edit.

I do this mainly because outlines are like guidelines and the story can stray pretty far from the outline once you begin writing.

So, outlining during the writing process can break you out of the story a bit, but it’s also a pretty good idea to keep track of the changes from your original outline. Or, keep track of what happens especially if you don’t have an outline or any notes.

Outlining after writing

I’ll admit that I don’t think I’ve ever outlined after the writing process was complete. If I did, I don’t remember it.

But I do think outlining after writing the main story can be beneficial. Just like keeping track of what happens as you write, you can easily recap everything that happened once you’ve finished.

Once you start editing, summarize each chapter as you read through them. This will help zero-in on what you’ve written. It’ll help you remember what happens from chapter to chapter and be easier to catch plot holes and the like.

In Conclusion…

Can you outline at any of those times for one novel? Yes. Outline, write, outline, edit, outline. Why not? It sounds like a lot of work, but I’m sure it would be worth it in the end. It’ll save a lot of headache later.

Personally, I outline before and during for each novel. I find it helpful and it works for me. If you’re a planner, switch up when you outline. You might get something new out of it.

When do you outline for your novel? Let me know in the comments below!

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