Mistake 28: Writing Incidents, Not Scenes

70 Solutions to Common Writing Mistakes by Bob Mayer from The Writer’s Digest Writing Kit

Why this is a mistake: Too often, novice writers feel like they are losing the reader if they aren’t constantly barraging the reader with new scenes; the scenes become so short that they are no longer scenes, but incidents.

There are several problems with this. Barraging the reader with short scenes/incidents disrupts the narrative flow of the story. The reader feels overwhelmed by a storm of short incidents. You can’t keep a story constantly ramped up—a reader needs to decompress every now and then.

The solution: Slow down. Storytelling is the oldest profession. Once you hook the reader, take him along for the ride. A scene is a complete unit of conflict. It has its own protagonist, antagonist, start point, escalating conflict, climax, and resolution. In effect, a scene is almost a mini-book. If a scene has no conflict, then it isn’t a scene and needs to be discarded.

When approaching a scene, don’t concern yourself so much with what is going to be in the scene, but rather with what purpose it serves in advancing the plot and developing character.

You might also like:

  • No Related Posts

COMMENT