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  • Kayleigh

Friday Tip: Make Sure Your Scenes Are DOING Something

In genre fiction, each scene you write should be moving your plot forward.

That doesn’t mean it’s all about the ACTION—you also need time for REACTION. (These are sometimes referred to as "scene" and "sequel.")

Sometimes as we "get to know" our characters or world, we fall into scenes that may seem interesting to us, but they're unproductive.

When writing a scene, ask yourself: What does my character want from this moment? Info? An object? Survival? Affection? A good night’s sleep?

Know the goal and write your way through it. This tends to entail encountering conflict and failure, big or small:

Danny so needed to sleep, but the squirrels continued to build their new nest in his walls, not stopping until the sun came up.

Then we need time for the response, where emotion and logic result in a decision bringing us to the next scene:

Another night without rest. Danny slammed cabinet doors and threw his spoon as he made coffee. He couldn’t go on like this. He’d need to set a trap.

If you're uncertain about a scene during revision, ask yourself what that scene is doing.

If nothing (maybe it's repetitive, maybe it's just a "day in the life" style scene, etc.), how can it be rewritten to contribute to the plot? If it can't, it may be time to make a cut.

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