Scenes and Chapters

Writing Great Chapters

3 Modules 7 Chapters 30 Lessons Develop Your Skills

About this Course

All the skills you need to write a great chapter: master narration, dramatic build up, paragraph flow, and character development. Log in over here Buy the course over there.

Course Structure

Build up tension 10 Lessons

How to Use this Course

Welcome to the course!

How Long Should a Chapter Be? Answer: 1-2 Unicorns

The answer to this popular question is simple: one to two unicorns. 

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The Components of a Dramatic, Easy-to-Read Scene

To write chapters that flow well: orient your writing around your protagonist's attempts to get what they want or avoid what they detest.

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How to End a Chapter

Ideally, a chapter ends with a change — either for the protagonist or the reader.

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Use Orientations to Anchor your Reader

Start each scene by re-connecting the reader to the protagonist.

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The Trouble with Exciting Scenes

Look at your novel's best scene: did you forget to include… THIS?

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Pulses and Motion

Great scenes rely on two opposites: forward motion that keeps the protagonist working against the clock (plot) and sparks / pulses of character motivation that show the reader how the events are affecting their protagonist (narration). Here's how to blend them.

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How to Introduce a “Lyrical Moment”

Novels aren't only about the plot. Some of the most memorable passages in a novel come from its lyrical moments.

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Set Backs, Pauses, and Relocations

A paradox: in order to keep raising the tension in a scene, you have to take breaks.

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Bonus Lesson: Open Loops

What about novels where you simply MUST share a lot of information about the fictional world: historical fiction, fantasy, sci fi etc? Here's a more advanced technique for mingling drama and exposition. 

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Why people like your protagonist 3 Lessons

Your Protagonist’s Two Plot Traits

Here are two theories about human psychology: they are almost everything you need to create a great protagonist.

Protagonist First Aid

If you notice you've let the reader drift away from the protagonist — use the next scene to deliver emergency first aid.

The Sympathetic Villain

How to make a bad character likeable? 

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Linking Chapters and Scenes to Create a Page-Turning Book 3 Lessons

Transition Smoothly Between Chapters

This is so simple: at the start of each chapter, just repeat.

The Ladder of POV

It's often a good idea to pull back at the start of a chapter.

The Three Necessary Scenes Before a Twist

You can reveal anything as long as no one is paying attention.

Crucial Scenes for your Novel 6 Lessons

The I Wish Scene

The best way to open a story?

The “I’ve Changed” Scene

Here's an easy way to show that the story is changing your protagonist.

Frustrated Exposition

Sometimes you just need to do an info-dump. Here's one way to make it work.

The "Clarifying the Stakes" scene

Not all scenes advance the plot. Some, instead, clarify it.

The Big Decision Scene

How to make a scene of internal choosing dramatic on the page.

How to write a “Tour de Force”

When it's time to deliver a dramatic, unforgettable scene — here are two great techniques.

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3 Chapters

Share a Vivid, Real World on the Page

How to present a vivid fictional world to your readers.

Writing Great Dialogue 2 Lessons

Five Tips for Compelling Dialogue

Dialogue is tricky to master: here are five shortcuts

Guarantee that Each Character Sounds Unique

Give each minor character a dominant mood. After all, most people don't change!

Layering detail and description 3 Lessons

What Chekhov Actually Said

Heighten your setting description with drama and variety.

The Busy Writer’s Guide to Evocative Description

Use the "heads and tails" trick when you're writing in a hurry.

Don’t Hate Me, But: No One Needs Eye Colour

Okay. Don't get angry. But it doesn't matter what shade your love interest's eyes are. 

Send Off 3 Lessons

Masterclass 1: use these prompts to write a novel

You've learned so much in this course. Let's use these lessons to sketch out a novel together, right now.

Masterclass 2: write an exquisite scene

Let's put these techniques together to write an unforgettable chapter

Final Thoughts

Thank you so much for taking this course.