Writers often struggle to make their scenes evoke the same experience in a reader’s mind as the one the writer has envisioned. Many times the problem isn’t about what’s lacking. It’s all there, but in the wrong order.
Writing Tip for Today: As you revise look for “chunking,” where you’ve bunched dialogue, then written long paragraphs of description or action. Effective scenes blend these elements. For example, if you’ve just taken two pages to describe a room, when the characters begin conversing, chances are high that readers will forget the scenic touches you worked so hard to paint. Practice these things to improve your own scene writing skills:
- Weave/blend the setting, body language, inner thoughts and/or actions around the dialogue. This will cut down on the need for attributions.
- Read it aloud to assess the rhythm of these “beats” so it flows naturally.
- Remember, for every sentence of narration or exposition, the action freezes. Resist the Urge to Explain (R.U.E.)
- Pay attention to the Rule of Three.
- Think of weaving/blending as a way the reader can fully experience the scene you imagined, like John Gardner’s vivid and continuous dream.