One of the biggest problems a writer encounters when writing a novel is misunderstanding the definition of a scene. I was once in the same boat. I have a slew of books on writing a novel – they’re all over the place in my home: in my office, living room, on the bedroom floor, in my computer bag, everywhere, a few are even on the bookshelves.
To write this piece of the novel writing puzzle, I dug through each of these rooms in search of the books with the best descriptions for writing scenes. And guess what? I found very little that talked about scenes – defining them, creating them. Novel writing books discuss plot, subplot, characters, motivation, emotion, dialogue, settings, descriptions, and publication – even how to write the blockbuster and breakout novels, but very little print space was allotted for describing how to write scenes.
No wonder writers have a hard time figuring out how to construct a scene when writing a novel. For many writers, the idea of writing a scene seems like a big mystery, something difficult to do that only the best writers know about. But that’s not true. If you’re writing a novel, you can learn to create scenes for it that move your story along and reveal the traits of your character. And that’s why I’m going to address what a scene is and how to go about constructing one.
Writing a Novel Requires Knowing the Definition of a Scene
The word “scene” as it relates to writing a novel (and movies, plays, the opera) can be defined in 3 ways:
- A scene is a continuous action set in one place
- A scene is a short section that presents a single event
- Scenes are the building blocks of a story’s plot.
When writing a novel, a writer must pull all of those definitions together so that the definition of a scene looks like this:
A scene is a short section (in comparison to the whole story) presenting a single event at a single location. A story is a series of scenes that when strung together make up the plot and ultimately the whole story.
Learn the Elements of Writing a Scene
So now that we know what the term “scene” means, let’s look at how a scene is constructed. Continue reading Writing a Novel – Learn What a Scene Is and How to Build One