Thank you, Raimey Gallant for organizing the #AuthorToolboxBlogHop. Today is the fourth post of this new series!
This is a monthly blog hop on the theme of resources/learning for authors: posts related to the craft of writing, editing, querying, marketing, publishing, blogging tips for authors, reviews of author-related products, anything that an author would find helpful.
To continue hopping through other great blogs in the monthly #AuthorToolboxBlogHop or to join, just hop on over to Ramey Gallant!
I’ll focus my entire series on self-editing. Here is what I’ve covered so far in the series:
Today’s topic is OPENING A SCENE.
Treat every scene like you would treat the opening scene in your novel. You’ve got to hook the readers so they put your book down. You want them to be so intrigued by your scene opening, that they HAVE to keep reading.
You can do this be evaluating the scene opening type, the scene entry hook, and scene anchoring.
Scene Opening Type
Don’t Bore Your Reader With Repetitive Scene Opening Types. You have four choices for scene opening type:
Go through each scene of your novel and label the scenes with one of the above. Then check that you haven’t been repetitive. Do many scenes in a row starting with one type is tiresome.
Scene Entry Hook
Get The Reader’s Attention With A Great Scene Hook
When creating a scene entry hook, consider:
- Starting in media res (opening in the middle of action)
- Foreshadowing trouble
- Using a strong line of dialogue
- Raising a question
- Not wasting words on extraneous description
After your first draft is complete, check each scene and list how you created a hook. As with the scene opening type, you want to vary the method you use. Variety will keep the reader engaged.
Anchor Your Readers, And They Won’t Put Your Book Down
Anchor The Point Of View:
Check whether the reader will know who has the point of view within the first paragraph or at least within the first couple of paragraphs of each scene. 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.
Anchor The Setting:
You know where the character is because you wrote the scene, but does your reader? If the reader can’t figure out the setting 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
Anchor The Timing:
The timing of the scene can mean:
- Time of day
- Time passed since the previous scene
- A particular date
Your readers will get disoriented if they can’t follow the timeline. Check each scene and make sure the timing is clear.
More Self-Editing Advice
If you’re looking for more help on self-editing download the free eBook, BIG-PICTURE Editing 15 Key Elements of Fiction To Make Your Story Work and learn how big-picture editing is all about evaluating the major components of your story. We call these components the Key Elements Of Fiction.
Our eBook shows you how to use the key elements of fiction to evaluate your story and become your own big-picture editor.
Interested In An Automated Approach To Big-Picture Self-Editing?
Feedback Innovations (which I happen to be the CEO of) created Fictionary, on online tool for writers.
AVAILABLE FOR FREE TRIAL NOW!
Fictionary is the first web app to help fiction writers evaluate their own work with a focus on story, not words.
With Fictionary, you can focus on plot, character, and setting. You can evaluate on a scene-by-scene basis or on overall novel structure. Fictionary will show you the most important structural elements to work on first.
Fictionally will guide you through the rewriting process by asking you questions specific to your manuscript, enabling you to evaluate your own story.
Fictionally helps you visualize your manuscript. Forget about yellow stickies or white boards. Fictionary will draw character arcs, provide reports on scene evaluation, and show your rewriting progress.
Happy editing and thanks for reading…