26 March 2010

Ways to Set a Scene

Hey, Friends!

So, this week we're talking about setting the scene. Instead of discussing it, I thought I'd show examples. They were written on the fly but I think they did their jobs. Of course, they were only snippets of a scene. No moment, decisions, conflict, etc. occurred in them.

How do you set your scenes?

There are so many different ways to do it--tone, word choice, description, setting, conversation, etc. We could talk forever about them. But I think there are some absolutely essential rules for writing scenes:

1. Make sure you do it! :0) Don't just leave the bones without any meat.

2. Change it up. Don't write every scene the same way, using your automatic tried-and-true pattern. Play with different techniques.

3. Find an anchor. Mark the movement in the scene, whether it's physically, in dialogue, a first person insight, etc.

4. Identify the conflict. Change up how you do it, but make sure it's there. A novel without conflict is like chicken curry without the spice--missing something really important!

I'm really trying to incorporate all of these in my novels. That was something I really had to work on last fall when I edited--creating more movement, enhancing conflict, especially. My tried-and-true is always in setting, so as I write fresh scenes now I'm trying to approach it differently. Right now it feels like I'm writing with my left hand (as a right-hander, it's feels "awkward", even with all the years of practice per that reoccurring New Year's Resolution), but I think it's creating more flavor and layers in the story. At least, I hope so!

What would you add to this list?

Have a great weekend! See y'all Monday!

19 comments:

  1. Great tips for scene-writing, Kristen! Thanks for sharing these with us.

    Elizabeth
    Mystery Writing is Murder

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  2. I always feel like I'm getting a mini writing lesson....I love these. They make me think...and relook at what I've written. Thanks so much for your snippets of wisdom....Sarah

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  3. Great post! On Monday, I'm posting about scenes. Specifically, what scenes actually are and why they are so important.

    Happy Friday, Kristen!

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  4. I like that you're trying a new approach, even if it feels like you're writing with the wrong hand.

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  5. That's a great list! For me, sometimes a scene will come about depending on whose POV (the hero or heroine) I decide to write in, too.

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  6. I like the idea of changing it up a little! Great suggestion!

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  7. Use all the senses when possible.

    Good job, K.

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  8. This is great. I like to look at scene and setting as their own characters. Just like I wouldn't forget to include my MC or a subcharacter, I can't forget these.

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  9. Can I just say your posts always sound like they are coming from a writer's workshop? From a professional writer? You've got a gift, girl :)

    "A novel without conflict is like chicken curry without the spice--missing something really important!" - Oh how I loved this line :)

    I just read something else this morning about changing things up. This writer was talking about changing your setting, not writing what you're familiar with but really seeing setting as a character. I love this list! Thanks for keeping the creative juices flowing and the mind's wheels turning.

    Jen

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  10. I love your list! I will have to keep it in mind for the future when I'm setting scenes.

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  11. Thanks for the tips, Kristen!

    Setting the scene is an area I need to work on a lot. I tend to get wrapped up in the action and dialogue.

    Blessings,
    Susan :)

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  12. I definitely need to work on setting my scenes. These are great tips. Thanks.

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  13. Thanks for the tips! Have a great weekend, Kristen!

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  14. Thanks for the list! I would add to make sure the mc has a goal and the scene focuses around that.

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  15. You covered this so well, I don't think I can add a thing!

    I'm still pouring over Fire in Fiction trying to bring my scenes up to par.

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  16. I've neglected the how-much-time-has-passed factor in my earlier works. Now, it's something I'm conscious of!

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  17. Thanks for the great lesson! This is really helpful.

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  18. I like 'find the anchor'. It's so important that each scene has motion and purpose. readers know when there is, or when it's just filler. Good things to think about :)

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  19. Great list--hadn't thought about finding the anchor. I too will remember that and when I edit my book. Have a great day!!

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