Write Better Fiction: Is Your Scene Anchored?

Today on Write Better Fiction we’ll cover Is Your Scene Anchored? Write Better Fiction is a process to help you critique your own manuscript and give yourself feedback. This will help you improve your novel, so you’re ready to submit it to an editor.

One could argue that asking yourself if your scene is anchored should fall under setting or under plot.

I’ve included scene anchoring under plot because it’s more than setting, and I think it leads well into the next topics we’ll cover, which are hook, development and climax of a scene.

AnchorSo what does it mean to anchor a scene?

The reader needs to know:

  • Who has the point of view
  • Where the character is
  • What the timing of the scene is

POINT OF VIEW:

We’ve dealt with point of view in detail, so I won’t say much here except you should checkEye whether the reader will know who has the point of view within the first paragraph or at least within the first couple of paragraphs. If not, the reader might find this frustrating. If you write your entire novel from one point of view, like many first person novels, then you don’t need to worry about this.

SETTING:

“Where is your character”“Where is your character” fits under setting. You know where the character is because your wrote the scene, but does your reader? If the reader can’t figure out where the character is within the first couple of paragraphs you may lose them – the reader I mean and not the character. 🙂

There are exceptions to this. If your scene is about a character waking in a dark place and confused about where she is, then it’s okay for the reader to be confused about where she is too. This will add to the tension. The reader does need to understand the lack of setting is done on purpose.

TIMING:

The timing of the scene can mean:Clock

  • Time of day
  • Time passed since last scene
  • A particular date

If several years or several seconds have passed in a characters life, then the reader needs to understand that. If you are jumping back in time or forward in time the reader needs to understand that too. The quicker the reader gets the timing, the quicker they will be drawn into the scene.

START OF A NEW SCENE:

The start of a new scene means point of view has changed, the setting has changes, or time has changed, hence every scene needs to be anchored.

Your challenge this week is to ask yourself if every scene in your novel is anchored. Does the reader know who has point of view, where the character is and what time it is?

I critiqued DESCENT and BLAZE using the techniques I’m sharing in Write Better Fiction, and I believe this helped me sign with a publisher.

Please me know in the comments below if you have any suggestions or improvements for anchoring a scene.

Thanks for reading…

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10 thoughts on “Write Better Fiction: Is Your Scene Anchored?

  1. Anchoring a scene is so important. After reading this article, I realize it might be something I’m not paying enough attention to in my writing.
    Great tips here. Thank you for sharing!

    Like

  2. Excellent post. The more we write, the more comfortable we become with anchoring our scene, but I find I still have to be careful to not overdo it, particularly when it comes to description of the setting. We want to let the reader visualize the character’s surroundings, but if we overdo it, the might roll their eyes and skip ahead. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Excellent point, Carrie. It’s true that we need to be careful not to over write the intro. I alway ask my beta readers to mark parts of the manuscript where they skim. That way, I can delete or shorten those parts. It’s hard to see them myself…

      Like

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