Starting A Novel Scene

This week I’ve been thinking about starting points. On Monday, I blogged about when to begin your novel. But what about a scene?

Once you’ve decided when to start your scene, as in before the action, in the middle of the action, or after then action, what about how to start your scene?

There are different ways to do this. These include with:

  • Action
  • Dialogue
  • Thought
  • Narrative

To choose which one, I think about what I want to accomplish with the scene, what happened in the previous scene, and what’s going to happen in the next scene.

For example, if the previous scene was high on action, I might want to start the current scene with narrative, perhaps describing where the POV character is. This slows the story and gives the reader a break.

When a first draft is complete, the next step is to check whether the scenes begin in different ways. If all the scenes start with dialogue, the novel might be tedious to read.

As usual, I keep track of scene starts with a column in a spreadsheet. This allows me to quickly glance and check that I haven’t been monotonous.

What’s your method for deciding how to start a scene?

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9 thoughts on “Starting A Novel Scene

  1. This is so useful, and an idea I haven’t encountered yet. In my first draft I discovered I had written several scenes with the characters pulling up to the setting in their cars. Now I can apply this idea and find different ways to approach fixing these.
    Thanks for this little nugget. 🙂

    Like

    1. That’s what I did too, except all my characters entered a scene through a doorway. That’s when I knew I needed to pay attention to the how I began a scene. Watch for the endings too. Make sure your characters don’t always drive away or leave through a doorway like mine did.

      Like

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