So, you’ve finished your novel. Congratulations, it’s a massive achievement!
But, now the real work begins: the redrafts. Once you start the subsequent versions of your book, you may find yourself getting stuck on certain scenes, and asking, "Should I keep it, or should it go"?
The answer to that rests in the purpose of the scene.
All of your scenes should have at least one purpose from the list of twelve below. They will not only tighten your writing, but will also ramp up your scenes, making them more engaging and interesting. In other words, move them from blah to ta-da!
Ask yourself the following questions.
Does the scene:
1. Show the reader something about the character?
2. Give the reader an insight into the relationship of one or more characters to other characters (and, therefore, drive the plot and overall themes forward)?
3. Move the plot or subplots forward?
4. Show the reader something about the world the characters come from/why they make the decisions they make?
5. Set a specific mood for the plot/s, character/s, theme/s (i.e. suspense, compassion for the main character, outrage at the powers that be)?
6. Hint at themes, a bigger picture meaning, sub plots that are yet to be revealed etc?
7. Give the reader necessary information (even if they know it at that moment or not) about the character, their background, a plot or sub plot etc?
8. Create a bond/emotional connection (positive or negative) between the character/s and reader?
9. Introduce or intensify conflict?
10. Build suspense?
11. Set up the stepping stones for character growth, or plot development, later on?
12. Provide resolution?
You must be able to say ‘yes’ to one or more of these questions for EVERY scene in your book.
What if you can’t?
It’s that simple––and, yes, I know, that hard too. It takes practice and determination and a certain level of detachment. Once you learn to be ruthless with your rewrites, you will find your scenes instantly improve.
So, chop, chop! :-)
What do you think? Is there anything you would add to the list?
About A.K. Leigh
A.K. Leigh is an international-selling romance author, identical triplet, writing instructor, incurable romantic, love guru, self-love advocate, amateur mystic, mother, sometimes blogger and vlogger, and trauma survivor.