Kootenai River in NW Montana, near Canadian Border

Kootenai River in NW Montana, near Canadian Border
photo by Gene Tunick of Eureka, Montana

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Tip O'Day #39

Dennis Foley on becoming a better scene writer:

We can learn something from the Cold War Soviets. They often created weaponry from reverse engineering weapons the US and NATO invented in the 60s and 70s. They'd start with reconnaissance photos of something and then work backwards until they had a similar weapon.

As writers we can use a variation on the same technique to become better scene writers. Scenes are the basic increment of the novel, the heart of everything we write and not an optional skill to master.

Improve your scene writing skills by watching a favorite DVD or recorded TV program and paying attention to one scene. Watch it, turn it off, go write what you just watched. Then play it again and see if your prose was complete and effective at what you see in the scene. Doing this often, and with favorite scenes, will sharpen your skills as a scene writer. Good scene writers become good novelists.

Novelist/screenwriter/producer/writing instructor Dennis Foley blogs at http://dennisfoley.blogspot.com/

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