How to Write Strong Scenes: 4 Key Questions to Evaluate Your Scene

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The following is excerpted from the online course The Art of Storytelling 101: Story Mapping and Pacing by Terri Valentine, which explores style, concepts, characters, and how to write strong scenes. Learn more about the course and register at Writer’s Digest University.


Practically speaking, scenes are the irreducible matter of novels. The success or failure of a novel often depends on each scene doing its share of the heavy lifting. Scenes are not the same as chapters: A chapter may contain one or many scenes.

Beginning writers often focus their attention on a few “important” scenes that they think are the heart of the novel and will wow the readers. The remaining scenes are treated as information dumps (passive talkin…

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