Disappearing Surroundings

You set up a scene (by describing where it takes place, who’s there and so forth) and the next thing you know, it’s mostly dialogue. After a few exchanges, the reader has forgotten about the surroundings and is left with talking heads. How do you create a fully three-dimensional scene?
Writing Tip for Today: Improve your scene writing skills by using these two techniques: Weaving Beats and The Rule of Three.

  • Weave concrete sensory details (CSD), emotional beats and action around your dialogue. Instead of dialogue attributions (he saids), add a beat (phrase or sentence) of CSD around the spoken lines. EX: Gail tossed the file onto the detective’s desk. “I got our guy to sing. I hope you’re satisified.” Sweat trickled down her neck in the stifling office. “I nearly got myself killed, but I got it.”
  • Remember the Rule of Three. If a character speaks 3 lines of dialogue or there are 3 exchanges of dialogue, consider breaking up the spoken words by Weaving Beats into the conversation.

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About Linda S. Clare

I'm an author, speaker, writing coach and mentor. I teach both fiction and nonfiction writing at Lane Community College and in the doctoral program as expert writing advisor for George Fox University. I love helping writers improve their craft and I'm both an avid reader and writer of stories about those with wounded hearts.

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