Typically writers start out by learning to plot and/or build compelling characters along with studying the nature of conflict. Of necessity, if their goal is to sell, they learn how to define their story through the synopsis or story outline.
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Then, still typically, they begin to write. Along the way, the most successful of them learn to manage the words on the page — often they don’t know how they do it—but many flounder, wondering why their books don’t stand out.
It’s because they haven’t learned to control their scenes and summaries. Many don’t even know what that means. A terrible handicap because scene and summary are the tool that makes emotion and action come alive on the page.
What many writers don’t understand is that novels are written and controlled through smaller blocks of prose, which have been labeled scene and summary. By applying certain criteria to these blocks, we can steer our story direction, use misdirection, and manipulate reader emotion. While it appears deceptively simple, the elements of scene and summary are elusively hard to master. But once you get a handle on the techniques and make the structure second nature, stories will almost write themselves. This course will show writers how to segment their action and internalization scenes in such a way that the reader hitchhikes the prose and clings to the story to the very end.
Scene Sculpting Overview
- a) The principal of cause and effect
- b) Definition of scene
- c) Definition of summary
- d) Examples of scene and summary in action
Scene & Action Scene
- a) The label for everything
- a) The heart of story tension
- b) Control action, control the reader
- c) Goals control the scene, conflict provides the tension
- a) The place to showcase your characters
- b) Reaction must be given its due
- c) Exposition has its place and this is it
- d) Control the summary, control the story
Scene & Summary Story Flow
- a) Transitioning from scene to summary
- b) What scenes need to do
- c) The scene/summary relationship
- d) Mini-summaries
If you have studied with other teachers (and many of you have) you may have to adjust your perspective on some of the teachings because there are a million ways to write a story and mine is but one of them, so don’t be reluctant to ask if you’ve had conflicting instruction. Usually a quick email can reconcile the two approaches.
Whatever your situation, I do advise you start a new story as you study these materials. If you choose a work in progress you may find yourself becoming very attached to certain scenes and be unwilling to approach them differently. So chose scenes you aren’t so invested in, ones you already know need work. Yes, it’s hard to tear apart completed work but it will be required of you when you hit the revision stage, so getting used to doing it here can make that job easier when you are published.
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