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The Complete Handbook of Novel Writing, 3rd Edition by Writer's Digest Writer's Digest Editors

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Chapter Eleven

Behind the Scene

Five Techniques for Crafting Stronger Scenes

James Scott Bell

A great story premise will not stand without solid scenes to prop it up. Colorful characters can flit across the page, but unless they are engaged in pitched battle, the reader simply won’t care.

Don’t let your scenes fall into cliché or monotony. Always look for ways to freshen them up. Here are five techniques to help you do that.

1. MAKE YOUR DIALOGUE FLOW

Try writing a scene in only dialogue. Let it flow. Don’t think much about it. When you’re finished, you can look back and figure out what the scene is really about.

I once wrote a scene between competing lawyers. Part of it went like this:

“You think you can get away with that?”

“Whatever works.” ...

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