Pacing . . . Prompt #447

When you read the next ditty, read “d-o-e-s” as in female deer. Mairzy Doats Mares eat oats and does eat oats and little lambs eat ivy a kid will eat ivy, too wouldn’t you? Say it fast and it becomes: Mairzy doats and dozy doats and liddle lamzy divey A kiddley divey too, wouldn’t you? Link to what this sounds like. I think of this rhyme when I think of pacing – paying attention to the cadence and rhythm of writing. How and when to increase the pace when writing. Paraphrased from Make A Scene by Jordan Rosenfeld: By pacing your scenes well and choosing the proper length for each scene, you can control the kinds of emotional effects your scenes have, leaving the reader with the feeling of having taken a satisfying journey. Pace should match the emotional content of your scene. First scenes should get going with an…

Just Write

How many povs can be in one scene?

The question often pops up: How many points of view can be in one scene? The easy answer: One point of view per paragraph. The expanded answer: “If you have more than one character within a scene whose points of view are relevant, then you’ll need to use the omniscient pov.” Jordan E. Rosenfeld, Make A Scene. The omniscient narrator is all-knowing, able to move in and out of the thoughts of all the characters and to comment on events before and after the scene has happened. Jordan, an authority on writing,  expands upon the idea of changing pov within a scene: “. . . you must make omniscient clear right away from the first paragraph in the scene. If the readers believes that he has only been able to see inside character A’s head, and then you suddenly leap into character B’s head, the reader will feel confused and…


Find the truth of the scene — Actor Will Forte

In an interview with The Costco Connection, Will Forte – an eight-year vet of Saturday Night Live – talks about his experience working with Bruce Dern in the movie “Nebraska.”  When asked what he learned from Bruce Dern, Will answered, “Bruce would always give me this advice: ‘Be in the moment. Just find the truth of the scene.’ I’m not a trained actor, so that just seemed like drama school hogwash, but the further we got into the  movie, it really made a lot of sense to me, and then I started thinking, maybe that’s what I’m supposed to do in comedy too. The truths might be very different, the levels of reality might be different, but you have to commit 100 percent either way.” Note from Marlene: I think this is true with writing also.  When “the truth of the scene” is conveyed, writing is strong and readers feel…


Write the Scene. Prompt #51

Prompt #48 was about how to “Grow Your Character.”  Prompt #49 was about setting the mood. Prompt #50 was “The Problem.” Let’s put them all together and write the scene.  If you have freewrites on character, mood and a problem. . . use these elements to write a scene. Or, write a scene, using all new material. If writing memoir, write what actually happened, as best as remembered. Be sure to include details. Be specific. Not “car,” rather “1966 blue Dodge van.” “Scenes are capsules in which compelling characters undertake significant actions in a vivid and memorable way that allows the events to feel as though they are happening in real time. When strung together, individual scenes add up to build plots and storylines.  — Make A Scene, Crafting a powerful Story One Scene at a Time,  by Jordan E. Rosenfeld In Make A Scene, Jordan includes a recipe for…

Guest Bloggers

Guest Blogger Jordan E. Rosenfeld – How to Stay on the Writing Path

“The seeker embarks on a journey to find what he wants and discovers, along the way, what he needs.”  —Wally Lamb, The Hour I First Believed “Not all who wander are lost.” J.R.R. Tolkien, The Fellowship of the Ring How to Stay on the Writing Path by Jordan E. Rosenfeld I believe that most writers are also seekers. While we may have a larger-reaching goal to find an audience and be published, ultimately, the writers who stick out the hard times do so because there is gold to be found along the journey. Sometimes it’s the kind of gold that requires mining and panning and sweat and agony. Other times it comes silently, a gift in the night from a willing muse. But one thing is for sure: writing gives as much as it takes—and it takes a lot. So how do you stay on the path of writing without falling off? How…

Book Reviews

Jordan Rosenfeld – Make A Scene

We’ve been talking about character, let’s add location. Jordan Rosenfeld wrote an amazing book, Make a Scene, detailing how to “craft a powerful story one scene at a time.”  She explains “The purpose of setting, a core element of the scene, is almost always to support and contain the action of the scene, but rarely to be the star. Still, setting requires careful consideration, because you want to ground the reader.” Characters in a story are always somewhere. . . even if the scene is just the character thinking. . . he or she is somewhere. In the next few prompts, we’ll be setting the scene. Meanwhile, check out Jordan’s book. It’s a complete how-to book for writing scenes and a necessary book for writers.  Good one to have on your resource shelf.