Scenes and Chapters

Keep Your Reader Entertained

Module 1

Module 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?