Good Scenes Require Specifics – by Sharon Oard Warner…

on Jane Friedman site:

You can’t write a novel all at once, any more than you can swallow a whale in one gulp. You do have to break it up into smaller chunks. But those smaller chunks aren’t good old familiar short stories. Novels aren’t built out of short stories. They are built out of scenes.” —Orson Scott Card

Scenes are about emotion and action; to elicit either one, you need specifics. Think about it: nothing happens in a vacuum. In my own experience, a long line at the grocery store is made more vexing by a lack of planning. Entering the store in a hurry, I have often bypassed the cart because my intention was only to buy an item or two. Most often, though, I pick up half a dozen “necessities” and arrive at the end of the cashier’s line with groceries tucked under my chin. Suppose I have a cold and have to cough or sneeze? Then what?

Here’s the bottom line: if you don’t imagine a bottle of merlot tucked in your protagonist’s armpit at the beginning of the scene, she can’t drop and break it at the end.

Continue reading HERE


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