Thursday, January 20, 2011

Types of Scenes

What I'm reading: Love is All Around, by Lori Devoti

A reminder - the introductory price for What's in a Name? will expire Saturday. See the sidebar for links and the Smashwords coupon code.

Yesterday I talked about making sure scenes had earned a place in a book, and promises to the reader. Since I told you I'd give some examples today, I'll make good on that promise. The following list shows the various types of scenes you might be using in your book. And remember, a scene might show more than one of these--which is a good thing.

Prologue – not required. In fact, unless there's a huge time gap between this and the opening, it should probably be Chapter One. There's also a difference of opinion as to whether agents want to see prologues when you're submitting.

Opening – should draw the reader in, giving hints of things to come.

Set-up -- foreshadows something to come. These scenes can occur throughout the book.

Validation – shows the character at work It's not enough to say your character is a dentist; at some point you'll have to show him being a dentist. .

Conflict - things interfere with what the character wants. Decisions must be made. You'll probably want a lot of conflict scenes to keep things interesting.

Push – moves characters apart

Pull – moves characters closer together

Reaction – also referred to as "sequel" (or shower scene, where the character would reflect on what just happened). These can slow the pace, so they're falling out of favor. If you need one, make sure it's important, and don't linger too long.

Flashback – use sparingly – they're often found in reaction scenes

Flash forward—rarely used in romance; author intrusion. Tends to be omniscient POV, which can intrude as well.

Reversal/Black moment – everything goes wrong

Climax – characters must make difficult choices

Conclusions – wrap up those dangling threads

Epilogue – not required. Jumps forward in time. Common in romance (although I'm not fond of them, personally--I'd rather write that book!)

Tomorrow, I hope to have another installment of basement pictures. I'm still waiting for more contributions for more interesting venues.

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