Scenes and Chapters

Writing Great Chapters

3 Modules 6 Chapters 21 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.

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Course Structure

Build up tension 8 Lessons

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

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

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.

Use Orientations to Anchor your Reader

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

The Trouble with Exciting Scenes

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

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.

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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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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 2 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.

The Sympathetic Villain

How to make a bad character likeable? 

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Crucial Scenes for your Novel 5 Lessons

How to write a “Tour de Force”

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

The “I’ve Changed” Scene

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

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.

Linking Chapters and Scenes to Create a Page-Turning Book 1 Lesson

The Three Necessary Scenes Before a Twist

This is what your reader needs before they can say "Wow!"

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2 Chapters

Share a Vivid, Real World on the Page

How to present a vivid fictional world to your readers.

Writing Great Dialogue 2 Lessons

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.