Tuesday, September 27, 2016



Start Late, End Early

Scenes are the building blocks of your story. The purpose of each scene is to move the reader along in the story. You can help your reader experience immediacy by plunging them headlong into your story.

Begin At the Latest Possible Moment

Begin your scene with action. Plunge your reader into the moment. The action can be dialogue, and be half-way through a conversation. You don't need to start with Hello. Get to the essence of the conversation.
Once your reader is into the action, you can write a brief paragraph describing the place where the action happens to ground the reader in the setting. Keep this paragraph brief and then continue on with the action.
Readers are smart. They will catch up with you. The key is to get your reader involved as quickly as you can. 

End Early

One of the best ways to get your reader to turn the page and keep reading is to end your scene early. Don't answer questions. Leave the reader hanging. If your protagonist is in a fight and just won or lost, stop. Get them to turn the page to discover what happens next. 

Use Scenes as Building Blocks

Whatever story structure you use, whether it is Aristotle's three acts or a more modern beat sheet, scenes are the power drivers of your story. Your reader is here now. Keep them turning the pages with immediacy and tension. Start with instant action, not long description. End by leaving a question unanswered. Your readers may not know what drives them forward, but you will.

Zara Altair

If you are looking for guidance or want a coach for your story get in touchzara@thestorybodyguard.com