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#FirstDraft60 Day 28 — Writing Your Story Scene by Scene

Monday, September 28, 2015

#FirstDraft60 | KayeDacus.comHow do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time. How do you write a novel? One scene at a time.

Even for those of us who’ve been doing this for quite some time, it’s tempting when we approach our writing time to think: I’m going to write my novel. But just like with the elephant, if we’re focusing on the entire animal—the entire novel—when it’s time to sit down and write, we’re going to become overwhelmed, no matter how much we’ve planned ahead.

When you sit down to work on your story, don’t think about “writing the story,” think about “writing a scene.” If you don’t think about what you’re doing in terms of small chunks, then it’s going to be overwhelming and it’s the quickest path to writer’s block.

However, if you schedule your writing time in order to write a scene or two, you’re more likely to not feel overwhelmed and actually meet your daily writing goals.

Now, rather than try to repeat what I’ve written about scenes before, here’s the whole series:


To try to summarize, though . . .

  • Make sure each scene has a beginning, middle, and end.
  • End each scene with a hook/question—not only do you want to end a scene leaving your reader wanting more, you want to end a scene where you want to know what happens next—and then walk away. That way, you’re more anxious to get back to writing.
  • Try to mix up the ways in which you open and close your scenes.
  • Make sure your characters have an intention/desire/goal in each scene.
  • Make sure each scene moves the plot of your story forward.

What can you do in order to help yourself think about writing scene by scene rather than “writing your story” when it’s time to start writing?

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