Happy weekend! Hope you've had a great week. It's been a busy month, hasn't it? Seems like so much is going on.
I just finished my second round of revisions ... or should I say re-visions on my YA, and entered it in ABNA, not that I expect to win, but because they give awesome detailed feedback on your first chapter, even if you don't get past the second round. Still time if you want to enter, but you better hurry!
As promised, today I have more from kid lit powerhouse, Mary Kole's, webinar on writing YA/MG. I have a series of posts from the course going, so if you missed any, I'll have links below.
Today I'm talking about scenes, and how to make sure they have what they should to compel our readers to, you know, keep reading!
Here's a checklist for you:
** Your MC (main character) must want something. In every scene.
** Don't mistake bickering for the conflict in your scene. What's the big picture?
** Subtext. What are the underlying objectives? What actions do your characters take to reach their goals?
** Are there enough shifts in action? Changing beats? Remember, in real life people never come out and ask for what they want. Don't rely on stilted dialog.
** Always end the scene/chapter on a turning point. There should be a new obstacle, frustration, or realization revealed or the scene isn't important to the story.
** Give each scene you can irreversible impact. Make it so there is no going back.
** Are there enough story values? Using both positive and negative emotions and switching back and forth throughout each scene and entire story?
** Has the antagonist had a brief relating moment to the protagonist in at least one scene?
** Some writers make emotional maps of each scene, highligting each emotion to ensure all are present
** Subplots present? Remember conflict isn't linear. Let subplots add complication to the main story problem
** Use subplots to showcase contrary sides
** Use surprises and reversals to bring out turning points in the story
** There should be a disconnect between reality (of story) and character's expectations.
Hope those are helpful. James Scott Bell's book Plot & Structure is also very helpful for tweaking scenes. If you missed the last two posts from Mary's class on writing, click here for First Chapter Objectives and here for Big Idea.
Also, Georgia McBride, freelance editor and founder of YALitChat.org is teaching a self-editing and revisions course, which you can find here.
How about you? Anything to add for crafting compelling scenes? I love to hear your tips and comments!