Martha is the bestselling author of The Plot Whisperer: Secrets of Story Structure Any Writer Can Master where she first introduced the Universal Story to transform writers’ creative lives and to “show” plot. The Plot Whisperer Work book: Step-by-Step Exercises to Help You Create Compelling Stories and The Plot Whisperer Book of Writing Prompts: Easy Exercises to Get You Writing quickly followed. Her most recent book is Writing Deep Scenes: Plotting Your Story Through Action, Emotion & Theme written with Jordan Rosenfeld. Writing Blockbuster Plots: A Step-by-Step Guide to Mastering Plot, Structure & Scene is due out March 16, and Secrets of Personal Transformation: A Spiritual Guide comes next.
Jordan is author of three novels, most recently Women in Red, and four writing guides, most recently Writing Deep Scenes and A Writer’s Guide to Persistence. Her essays and articles have appeared widely in publications like Alternet, Creative Live, DAME magazine, GOOD magazine, the New York Times, Pacific Standard, Rewire Me, The Rumpus, Salon.com, and the Washington Post. She teaches online writing courses through Mediabistro.com.
Both of us feel that scenes are essential DNA of solid storytelling, and that all writers need to learn to master them. But we’re especially excited about offering writers ways to take their work deeper, richer and help it to stand out from the rest.
Master Scene Types for Page-Turning Plots[pullquote] A quick refresher: A scene is defined by the presence of more real-time momentum than interior monologue (contemplation) or expository explanation.” [/pullquote]
While many writers know the basics of writing scenes, a common habit among writers of all stages is to use the same type of scene throughout an entire manuscript. A quick refresher: A scene is defined by the presence of more real-time momentum than interior monologue (contemplation) or expository explanation. Real-time momentum is a combination of action, dialogue, and character interaction with her surroundings and other characters. Scenes crackle with energy and emotions that make readers feel as though they are right beside (or inside) the character as she experiences any number of situations and scenarios. In contrast, narrative summary—lecturing, explaining, or describing—puts readers to sleep after too long.
Scene Types Add Complexity
Like a composer using one note in a symphony or a painter choosing only a single color for a large mural, the effect of using the same scene type for the duration of a novel often creates a flat or monotonous story that doesn’t allow your character to undergo a full breadth of transformation, or the action to fall flat. Thus, we hope that writers will choose from our toolbox of 15 scene types to enliven their plots. [Read more…]