5 Checks You Should Apply to Every Scene (News about my Chapter 10)

Schreibtisch 2You have finished a chapter, the structure is sound, the scenes drive the story and there are some surprises in store for the reader. Not much editing to do left, you might think.

Before you move on to the next chapter, you should apply 5 indispensible checks to your text. Here is your checklist:

I was rather relaxed about the first draft of my chapter 10. When I reread it, though, I found I hadn’t played the scenes to their full potential. Making the most of each scene, however, should be the maxim of every writer. This is how you can make a scene shine:

Check for the 5 Indispensables:

  • Drama
  • Dialogue
  • Comedy
  • Atmosphere
  • Conflict

Drama

Has a scene’s potential for drama been fully developed? Is the reader touched by the occurrences? Can he/she identify and feel with every character? This is how a novel becomes a page turner. But beware: Writing in way that a reader can sympathise with a character doesn’t mean the scene should be soppy. Soppiness is tedious.

Dialogue

Does each character say what he/she needs to say due to his/her personality and role in a scene? Making the most of a scene doesn’t mean to overstretch a dialogue by repetition or over-explaining a character’s motivation in an additional inner monologue. Dialogue is for a scene what jewels are for a ball gown: Too few look pale, but too many spoil the ensemble. Make sure the dialogues are clever, surprising and to the point.

Comedy

I strongly believe that a Regency novel should have at least as many comical as romantic moments. Romance warmth our hearts, but a good laugh often makes our day. Therefore, always check if you can add comedy to a scene, be it comedy of situation, a witty dialogue, the eccentricity of a character or a sharp observation of the kind Jane Austen was able to do.

Atmosphere

Can you see the setting of each scene in your imagination? Do you feel the aloof coldness of the strict rich aunt’s drawing room? Brilliant! Then plunge your reader into an imaginative world by sharing what you see.

Conflict

The Holy Rule of writing page-turners is to make the main characters suffer. In a Regency novel, this doesn’t mean you have to be bloodthirsty. But don’t be kind to your main characters. If you make their lives easy then why bothering writing a novel at all: Just have hero and heroine marry and be done with it. Conflict and trouble make a story worth telling, and characters develop by braving trouble and solving conflicts.

Having checked my first draft of chapter 10 for the 5 Indispensables, I rewrote many scenes. But it was worth the effort. Chapter 10 is now a strong and convincing chapter.

 

You can find more writing tips for Regency Novel Writers here.

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