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06.03.2013 03:11    Comments: 0    Categories: Writing Scenes      Tags: shruti chandra gupta  fiction writing  creating scenes  

Scenes are like bricks in a house. They are disjointed, but glued together. Scenes too need to stick together to create a structure that has beauty and system. You can say scenes are the building blocks of a novel.

Even before you write the first word of your novel, your mind is already overflowing with what to write. Sometimes, it is the characters who dominate your thoughts and sometimes the plot. As fiction writers, we can't always trust our thoughts. Thoughts are wild horses that need to be tamed. Whatever is already swimming in your head is good, but what is not can spell doom. So let's take a look at the must-haves to make a convincing scene.

Story World and Characters

We are designed after society, caged by our surroundings. More often than not, it is society that shapes us, not visa versa. To spread life into your characters, firmly place them in their environment so that you can't think of the one without the other.

Let your setting impact your characters. Make them happy when there's a good crop, sad when her old table gets butchered, angry when the heavy rain blocks his view of his girlfriend and the man, at peace when lying still on his bed with the familiar walls around him.

You love inanimate things as much; so does your characters.

Situation and Characters

Characters can't aimlessly wander around in your book doing things that do not fit into the plot. They need to be doing something that makes sense at present or will do so in the future. Your scene needs to tell the reader exactly what the situation your characters are in. Is he bitter with his father because the father treats his mother badly? She doesn't want to go to school anymore because her classmates bully her. He is going to the Arctic to study seals which has become his obsession after his wife divorced him.

The greatest advantage of presenting the situation in a scene is that your characters are seen against the background in which you put them. Whatever you say about your characters from then on can be put in context; revealing contradictions, irony, falsities. With Situation and Characters moving along, you can not only show a range of emotions, but also reveal a character's flaws without even specifying them in your novel.


This is a given. Friction means excitement, entertainment. The reader demands it, so you know how important that is. Friction is of two kinds - internal and external. You can check out my article on friction here. I'm too lazy to write a whole new chapter on it.

Push the Plot

You've got to keep the wheels rolling. Including something new in every scene will keep the reader interested in your book. How many times have you heard: "I couldn't keep the book down!" That means a racy plot and well-carved scenes. Push the plot by getting in new incidents, characters, setting, revelations. That will make the reader think about nothing except your novel.


About the Author

Shruti Chandra Gupta Fiction Writer (literary) New Delhi, India -  I'm a fiction writer (literary) who has just completed her first novel. I dug out Master's in English Literature after which I delved into journalism for a while. As with every writer, I have also written short stories, articles, travalogues and poems. I also run a website on writing ww.literaryzone.com - which is a great resource for fiction writers. Not lying. Currently, I'm working on my second novel and reading all the smart stuff to become a better writer.

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