How to Outline a Scene like a Pro

Hello, lovely people, I hope you are well? You are? Great! I know I am, it’s Friday after all! The last few days I have been outlining my scenes so that I am ready for Camp NaNoWriMo in July.

I’m reading an amazing book by CS Lakin called The 12 Key Pillars of Novel Construction which I have found invaluable. Lakin gives a scene checklist which I recommend you get your hands on.

I have used this to ask myself set questions per scene, and they are helping me so much I thought I would share them with you. Let me know what you think!

​What is the action or revelation that is the high impact crux of this scene?

What new information will this scene tell the reader?

What is the purpose of the scene?

What do I want the reader to know by reading this scene?

What is the protagonist reacting to here?

What added extra sparkle does the scene have?

Where does the scene begin?

What action is taking place when the scene starts?

How is it different to the opening of the scene before?

What is the POV?

How will I show this POV in the first few sentences?

How will I show the passing of time from the last scene?

What is my hook that grabs the reader at the start of the scene?

Imagine I’m in the scene, note down the first five things my senses notice.

List all the conflict that will take place in the scene.

How will the high moment stand out?

What juicy revelations that come further along in the book do I hint to?

How will I end in a way that excites the reader?

By the end what has been resolved or left hanging?

What do I want the reader to feel by the end of this scene?

What is the beginning middle and end of this scene?

Do you use a similar list of questions, or are you more of a pantser? As always I’d love your comments and any wisdom you have to share.

5 Things Killing Your Writing Productivity

This post is a well-timed reminder for me; I hope you find it useful also.

Novelty Revisions

writing

How do you become a more productive writer? That’s a loaded question. Productivity, as you hopefully already know, requires a few major attributes in terms of writing well, often, with purpose. One reason many self-proclaimed aspiring writers can’t get any writing done is because they can’t get past common roadblocks to writing productivity … or rather, they don’t even know what these potential roadblocks are.

There are habits and circumstances killing your writing productivity. Here are the most common ones, and how to extinguish them.


1. Self-editing

Self-editing, while you’re writing, is destructive and time-consuming. It’s tempting; I know. I still do it way more often than I should, too. If you’re always stopping to fix what you just wrote five seconds ago, your piece isn’t going to move forward very quickly, if at all. As tempting as it may be, save editing for later. Always finish writing first…

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Book Review – Behind Her Eyes by Sarah Pinborough

Behind Her EyesBehind Her Eyes by Sarah Pinborough

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This book blew my mind. I won’t include any spoilers here because I wouldn’t want to rob anything from future readers, which you should be. Thriller lovers – read this book! You won’t be disappointed.

From start to finish this novel gripped me. I found the exact right ratio of mystery to truth. It’s as if Sarah Pinborough was drip feeding enough revelations to keep you addicted, but never enough to fully satisfy until you reach the end of the book.

If you see the twist at the end of this book coming, you must be psychic.

What are you doing reading this review? Get out and read this book!

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How to Murder a Draft, and Resurrect A Better Story

Here are some incredibly helpful tips on editing, when I get to this point I will be checking this post out again and again. I hope it helps you too. Happy writing everyone!

AlvaradoFrazier

Do you ever want to throw your work in progress away? Chuck the manuscript you’ve worked on for years?

If you’re a writer, you’ve been there and done that.

The last few months I’ve taken writing classes with an editor, Toni Lopopolo and her assistant, Lisa Angle. We’re a small group of writers who brave the weekly sessions with Toni and Lisa so we can become better writers.

I’ve learned I must swing a machete through a draft to become a better writer.

Wield your writing machete like Danny Trejo

Machete-wielding is a dirty job. You must be merciless. This will hurt, but it’s for your own good.

These tips will help you murder your draft:

  1. Pluck out backstory in the first pages.
  2. Delete the flowery prose that serves no purpose. This includes adverbs and -ing words.
  3. Hack out the ‘terrible 20‘ words that result in the passive voice.

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Advice Please: How do I stop Starting all my Sentences with Pronouns?

I need your help! This writing malarky, as we all know, is blooming difficult. Not only are we trying to craft a robust and compelling story, but we need to write it in a varied and engaging way. It is hard!

I don’t know about you, but I have found that in my writing it is easier to notice when something is wrong, than when I’ve done a good job. Those pesky errors stand out like a Kindle in a bookshop.

One error I keep finding in my writing is that I start so MANY sentences with “She”, “He”, “Character Name”. 

I am well aware that this is a sign of immature writing and I’m not afraid to admit that I have a heck of a lot to learn. That’s why I love reading about other writer’s processes and advice. You are all making me a far better writer.

So I wonder, do any of you have some top tips for creating variety in your sentence starters? Have you written a blog post about it? I would LOVE to gather your wisdom, and I plan to write a blog post about it, linking to any bloggers or posts who have some useful tips. Thank you in advance.

Book Review: The Secrets of Happiness by Lucy Diamond

The Secrets of HappinessThe Secrets of Happiness by Lucy Diamond

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I listened to this book VIA Audible, and I found it to be an entertaining read/listen.

It is a cosy story about two step-sisters, and their journey to fix their relationship. It is written from the perspective of the two sisters separately, and I liked this about the book.

The Secret of Happiness is a cosy story, with bundles of humour, a spattering of romance, and lots of feel-good vibes.

It didn’t rock my world, hence the four stars, but I would wholeheartedly recommend it to anyone looking for a book to escape with. Perfect holiday reading!

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Ten Tips For Creating the Perfect Pace in Your Novel

Here are some great suggestions on how to pace your novel, I hope they help you as much as they helped me!

lmnelsonscorner

marathon_mouse_spot-2Sometimes as writers, it’s hard to create the perfect pace in our stories.  I attended a writing workshop recently and learned a few things about pacing. Here’s what I walked away with.

  1. Impose a deadline. Your characters must have an urgency and a time constraint to accomplish their task. Give them a timeframe.
  2. Up the ante. Make the task harder, danger greater, or stakes higher. Challenge your character, create tension and throw things at them that get in the way.
  3. Create a mystery. Leave open questions. Create doubt and uncertainty. Why was he here? What was he doing with that person?
  4. Swap point of view. Change the voice. Alter from heavy to humorous.
  5. Leave white space. Keep paragraphs short. Vary sentence length. Create chunks.
  6. Create an unsettled feeling. End chapters by leaving readers on edge.  Make them want to know what’s going to happen next.
  7. Interlock episodes. Every scene connects to the…

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