It’s so difficult to just react and not share the information because it’s excellent. However, I don’t want to violate copyright, so I know I need to go back and redo the videos for the Outline post (I will do this eventually; I promise!).
One of the things I loved about this chapter in Part 1 is that it did a great job going over the basics of the scene. If you weren’t familiar with the definition, it was there. If you weren’t familiar with a scene structure, it was there. If you weren’t sure about the types of scenes you may write, they were there. Domet left nothing to guesswork.
I had previously taken a screenwriting class and had gone in-depth about scenes and all of this information; however, there were a few things that impressed me and some other information that I didn’t know before or didn’t think of in that particular way before.
One thing I really liked is the analogy she used when explaining the structure of a scene. I had been taught this in my screenwriting class but didn’t really connect that a scene is similar to a very short story–it has a beginning, middle, and end, just like a story does.
I also knew all about the types of scenes there are but had never considered classifying or dividing the way Domet did. It makes sense, however, that there are internal scenes and external scenes.
It never occurred to me to label/identify the internal scenes the way she did, but I like the organization. Sure, I knew about Indirect Thought/Internal Monologue scenes, but who doesn’t?
No, the scenes identifications that surprised me were the Contemplative and Emotional scenes. I mean, I knew about them, but I guess I just lumped them all into what I called “Interiority”. It’s funny because after doing that, I would always struggle with explaining to others how each type of interior scene worked.
Now I can say to others that a contemplative scene has to do with setting and reflects the “mood, values, and mindset of your character” (Domet 41). I’ve only made the environment do this in one scene that I can think of in my original fiction, but it’s like the main theme in a fanfiction I wrote LOL.
I especially was impressed about how she pointed out that a character’s mood can affect that character’s perception of the world; I just learned about that in my poetry class this week, so it’s interesting to see that the concept of awareness and perception is a universal one.
Emotional scenes have always been my bane. I was the one guilty of breaking the rule “Never explicitly state the emotion . . . Show, don’t tell” (Domet 42). I think I struggle with it because my parents are from the Silent Generation, and they were taught that to express your emotions (good or bad) was “whining” or “bragging”, so you shouldn’t share them.
Thankfully, I discovered this The Emotion Thesaurus. I was able to use this until I got my own book version of it (I’m sure there’s more entries on the online version but I can’t afford a $90/year subscription) and then got the second edition as seen below. If you’re like me and you struggle with following Domet’s suggestion of allowing the character’s emotions to be shown through physical (and other) sensations, I strongly recommend getting yourself a copy.
Angela Ackerman and Becca Pugilsi will always be my heroines because they me express emotions on the page in ways I never would have imagined. I’ll always be grateful for stumbling across their blog. The great part is you can pick up this thesaurus just about anywhere.
They also have other thesauruses. I strongly recommend getting them all.
I also recommend getting The Thesaurus of the Senses by Linda Hart. I’ve found it to be an excellent companion to the above thesauruses, filling in gaps that exist in some of the descriptions (hey, one book can only cover so much, right?)
The only scene that I unfamiliar with in the External scenes section was the Dramatic (not melodramatic, mind you) Scenes. It was helpful to know that they were just like the Action Scenes but with a little dash of internal scene thrown in. I wasn’t worried about the action scenes or dialogue scenes; I’ve had plenty of practice with them.
I will say this much: while I found this scene categorization enlightening, I found it lacked a little in substance and explanation for those who might not understand how to write one. There was only a paragraph each on each scene (warning: if you haven’t read The Great Gatsby, you’re going to struggle with some of Domet’s examples. It’s clear she absolutely loves that book because she references it all the time).
Because I’m sure there are some of us out there who might need some more explanation for certain scene types (*points to self*), I strongly recommend getting a copy of a book I purchased years ago: Make a Scene by Jordan E. Rosenfeld (a book I still find valid and useful even 13 years later). She also has a lot of other guidebooks written that I’m sure are just as helpful.
In this book, she goes over the architecture of a scene, the core elements and the scene, and 10 scene types (the opening/first scene, suspense scenes, dramatic scenes, contemplative scenes, dialogue scenes, action scenes, flashback scenes, epiphany scenes, climatic scenes, and the ending/final scene) as well as other scene considerations such as multiple points of view, emotions, secondary and minor characters, scene transitions and scene assessment and revision.
This book is one of the best out there IMO, which is why it was no surprise to me when she came out with a 2nd edition (I will admit, though, I’m a bit disappointed this only comes in electronic or paperback; I prefer hardback because I have a tendency to take the book with me everywhere while I’m reading it, and I’m a clumsy book-dropper).
I also noticed the 2nd edition has only 9 scenes listed. She took out the Dramatic Scenes and Action Scenes chapters and put Prologues in place of them. If those previous scenes are the ones you struggle with, I suggest you get the 1st edition (I’m not sure I want to spend another $15 just for one type of scene that I rarely include in my novels).
Well, that’s all I have to react to (if you want to see my reaction to the 8 tips Domet gives at the end of Part 1, you’ll need to go to the bottom of Day 1’s post because I didn’t realize I needed to discuss them until after the first day).
Just a reminder: your 90-day writing challenge is about to begin, so I’m going to put the Writing Contract up here again in both Word and pdf format
Although you don’t have to comment below, I would really appreciate it since Domet recommends a “buddy system”. So, please feel free to comment, share how your novel writing is going, ask questions, and so on. Thanks!