Tag Archives: scene structure

Practical Prompt 7/20/26: Scene Structure Part 3

WriteOwls

WriteOwls

For our June “Learn to Write by Reading” challenge, we invited you to examine books that had well constructed scenes. Now, apply what you learned to your own manuscript.

For the past two weeks, you’ve revised a scene in your manuscript so that your characters face conflict that your readers will find fresh. This week, analyze how your character feels about the outcome. Were there unintended consequences? Let those emotions direct the way the character reacts. Does she regroup and come up with a new plan to reach the same goal? Does he set a new goal altogether? Whatever reaction you choose, use that to guide the goal your character sets in the next scene.

Practical Prompt 7/13/16: Scene Structure Part 2

WriteOwls

WriteOwls

For our June “Learn to Write by Reading” challenge, we invited you to examine books that had well constructed scenes. Now, apply what you learned to your own manuscript.

In last week’s practical prompt, you crafted a scene that set up your characters’ goals and created obstacles for them to overcome. Now, review the conflict in that scene. Is the outcome too predictable? Consider a different outcome that will surprise your readers, or have your character react in an unexpected way. Try a few options until you find the one that will keep the readers turning the pages to see what happens next.

Practical Prompt 7/6/16: Scene Structure Part 1

WriteOwls

WriteOwls

For our June “Learn to Write by Reading” challenge, we invited you to examine books that had well constructed scenes. Now, apply what you learned to your own manuscript.

Look at a scene that you particularly enjoyed from the book you read for this month’s challenge. What elements made the scene work? Often, the underlying structure is well hidden, but a dynamic scene will open with a character who has a specific goal. Notice that the character’s goal in an individual scene is not generally the same as the character’s larger story goal; rather it is a small step in the story goal’s direction. Other characters, though, have different agendas which will put them in conflict with the scene’s main character. That conflict is one of the things that makes a scene interesting.

Take a scene you’re having problems with from your work in progress. If the scene is too ho-hum, there may not be enough conflict. Ask yourself if your scene’s main character has a specific goal at the beginning of the scene. If not, give her one. Then make sure other characters and/or circumstances work against the major character as she tries to achieve her goal.  That will help ratchet up the drama and interest level throughout the scene.

Learn to Write By Reading: Scene Structure

WriteOwls

WriteOwls

Successful writers say it all the time: To be a good writer, you need to be a good reader. So we challenge you to read more and to read outside of your comfort zone.

This month, find the underlying scene structure in the current book you’re reading. Good writers keep readers turning the pages by crafting one scene that builds on the next in an inevitable, but surprising way. As you read this month, make note of patterns you see from scene to scene so you can identify what keeps you interested in the story and what makes you want to skip ahead. Below are some books we recommend, but feel free to chime in and offer other options to our readers. Then stay tuned for some practical prompts based on our Reading Challenge that you can apply to your own writing.

Alicia: Wicked Lovely by Melissa Marr

Laura: The disreputable history of Frankie Landau-banks by E. Lockhart

Megan: Arcadia by Lain Pears

Naomi: Wonderstruck by Brian Selznick

Stacey: Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman