Hot Best Seller

The Scene Book: A Primer for the Fiction Writer

Availability: Ready to download

A treasure-trove of scene-writing wisdom from award-winning author and teacher Sandra Scofield To write a good scene, you have to know the following: • Every scene has an EVENT • Every scene has a FUNCTION in the narrative • Every scene has a STRUCTURE: a beginning, middle, and end • Every scene has a PULSE The Scene Book is a fundamental guide to crafting more effective sc A treasure-trove of scene-writing wisdom from award-winning author and teacher Sandra Scofield To write a good scene, you have to know the following: • Every scene has an EVENT • Every scene has a FUNCTION in the narrative • Every scene has a STRUCTURE: a beginning, middle, and end • Every scene has a PULSE The Scene Book is a fundamental guide to crafting more effective scenes in fiction. In clear, simple language, Sandra Scofield shows both the beginner and the seasoned writer how to build better scenes, the underpinning of any good narrative.


Compare

A treasure-trove of scene-writing wisdom from award-winning author and teacher Sandra Scofield To write a good scene, you have to know the following: • Every scene has an EVENT • Every scene has a FUNCTION in the narrative • Every scene has a STRUCTURE: a beginning, middle, and end • Every scene has a PULSE The Scene Book is a fundamental guide to crafting more effective sc A treasure-trove of scene-writing wisdom from award-winning author and teacher Sandra Scofield To write a good scene, you have to know the following: • Every scene has an EVENT • Every scene has a FUNCTION in the narrative • Every scene has a STRUCTURE: a beginning, middle, and end • Every scene has a PULSE The Scene Book is a fundamental guide to crafting more effective scenes in fiction. In clear, simple language, Sandra Scofield shows both the beginner and the seasoned writer how to build better scenes, the underpinning of any good narrative.

30 review for The Scene Book: A Primer for the Fiction Writer

  1. 5 out of 5

    Ann

    This was my craft book pick for my second term at the Seton Hill Writing Popular Fiction master's program. One of the things I often struggle with in my fiction, especially in long fiction, is the meandering scene. Sometimes things just draaaag in my writing. I've come to realize that part of that is sometimes a lack of focus in my scenes. They're just *there*. I'm somewhat of an organic writer. I don't tend to plot much and while I do have an idea of where things are going, and several scenes in This was my craft book pick for my second term at the Seton Hill Writing Popular Fiction master's program. One of the things I often struggle with in my fiction, especially in long fiction, is the meandering scene. Sometimes things just draaaag in my writing. I've come to realize that part of that is sometimes a lack of focus in my scenes. They're just *there*. I'm somewhat of an organic writer. I don't tend to plot much and while I do have an idea of where things are going, and several scenes in my head that I would like to hit, it can change without notice. So the idea of sitting down and planning scenes kind of scares me. But I chose this book to get an idea of what a scene should have in it. And thank goodness, it's not about sitting down and plotting out your scenes a head of time. Sure, there are things you should think about when sitting down to write a scene, but it gives more tips about how to fix scenes (or just get rid of them) once you've written them. It'll come in handy when I sit down to revise my thesis. And it did improve my writing already. I ended up going back over a scene that felt flat in the pages I'm working on this month and make it serve the story. So, what's a scene? Ms. Scofield defines a scene as follows: Scenes are those passages in narrative when we slow down and focus on an event in the story so that we are "in the moment" with the characters in action. Scenes are blocks of action that serve the telling of the story. This is one thing that I have to remember--every part of the story should be there to serve the story. Sometimes I end up with scenes that flesh out a character--for me as the author--but does the story no good. Those are the scenes that need to be ripped out or summarized. There are four basic elements to a scene: 1) event and emotion 2) function 3) structure 4) pulse Yes, the first element there is two things. It's because they're intertwined. In a scene your characters act on and react to events. Characters do and feel. And there should be a reason behind what the characters are doing/feeling that furthers the story (that's element two). Scenes have structure: beginnings, middles, and ends. In a way, they are little stories themselves, though connected to a much larger piece. Now, the fourth element, I had heard bantered about, but never understood. Scenes have pulses. What's a pulse? It's a bit more fuzzy than the other elements. It's what makes the story stand out on the page, the heartbeat that keeps it moving forward. It's the tension. The book goes into describing each of these elements in detail, provides examples and exercises, as well as questions to ask when it comes to your own work. The most useful section I found was the section on beats. That's another writing term I heard a lot, but didn't understand. What the heck is a beat? It turns out that a beat is a little piece of action and reaction in a scene. All the beats add up to the event of the scene. It's the physical actions of the character that drives the event forward. Ms. Scofield also talks about conflict and tension, which I'll admit to skimming over a bit. We got the Big Tension Primer from Donald Maass my first term at Seton Hill, so much was repetition of what he focused on. What was useful was a section called Negotiation: An alternate view of conflict. This part of the book talked about tension arising not from characters being in angry conflict all the time, but in character negotiation: [...] an exchange of character desires and denials and relenting, until some sort of peace is carved out, or else the whole interaction falls apart It's a slightly different way at looking at conflict--that of a process of change and resolution. Ms Scofield also has a section of the book devoted to reading for technique, that is, studying other writer's scenes, as well as studying your own scenes with an eye to improve them. She condenses the tips in the book down to a few pages of questions to ask as you look at your own writing. This is a goldmine of revision-fodder. I'll certainly be using her tips and questions on one of my revision passes. It's all good stuff, but if I try to implement it while writing, my writing will grind to a halt. The trick to using much of the knowledge in craft books is to know when to use it. I'm more aware of needing to have a purpose for my scenes, and more aware of the need for tension, as well as weaving in beats of action, but I'm also trying to balance that awareness with just getting the story out. Bones first, then I can flesh the rest out. Certainly, the Scene Book is one craft book I'll be picking up again, and applying to my work once I'm at the stage where it would make the most sense to do so. In the mean time, I'll take what I've learned by osmosis, and it'll come out in the writing I do now. It's a very useful book and I recommend the it if you have issues with meandering scenes or scenes that just seem... flat. There's a lot of good advice on how to deal with those issues.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Chance Lee

    This book is okay, but I only got a few good tips out of it. As with any writing guide, YMMV depending on what you want to focus on and your level of experience. This book is about scenes, as you can tell from the title, and while the author uses a lot of examples from novels (waaay too many from her own novels, which, judging the examples, seem insufferably dull), I think this book is of the best use to a short story writer. The back of the book is really all you need to read: Every scene has a This book is okay, but I only got a few good tips out of it. As with any writing guide, YMMV depending on what you want to focus on and your level of experience. This book is about scenes, as you can tell from the title, and while the author uses a lot of examples from novels (waaay too many from her own novels, which, judging the examples, seem insufferably dull), I think this book is of the best use to a short story writer. The back of the book is really all you need to read: Every scene has an EVENT. every scene has a FUNCTION in the narrative. Every scene has a STRUCTURE: a beginning, middle, and end. Every scene has a PULSE. If you want to learn more about these ALL CAPS terms in depth, check out this book.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Michael

    Although there is some very helpful information here in a structural, editorial way, the fact that she doesn't ever stop mentioning her own work, or quoting from it, or using it as a good example, made me never want to read her again.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Carrie Daws

    I skimmed more than read this book. It's not that it wasn't full of good information or an abundance of examples, it's not that it was written poorly or needed editing, it's not even that I didn't get anything out of it as I do have the occasional highlight. This particular book just wasn't my favorite on this topic.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Mark O'Bannon

    The Scene Book by Sandra Scofield If you want to be a writer, you need to master the art of writing the scene. Scenes form the basic building blocks of any story and this book explores them in great detail. Writers need to think in scenes. There is a difference between narrative summary and a scene. Narrative summary is a way to quickly cover a lot of ground in a story, without getting bogged down in the details. Narrative summary is a great technique to use between scenes, but some writers don't se The Scene Book by Sandra Scofield If you want to be a writer, you need to master the art of writing the scene. Scenes form the basic building blocks of any story and this book explores them in great detail. Writers need to think in scenes. There is a difference between narrative summary and a scene. Narrative summary is a way to quickly cover a lot of ground in a story, without getting bogged down in the details. Narrative summary is a great technique to use between scenes, but some writers don't seem to understand the difference between them. What is a scene? A scene is ACTION. Every scenes contain a clear goal, actions, emotions, a pulse, tension (conflict), a focal point and a revelation, which will lead into the next scene. The Scene Book breaks down every scene into its essential elements. Then it shows how to get to the heart of the scene and this will allow you to put meaning into everything you write. The book also shows you how to handle scene openings and the first lines of your book. The book shows how to handle multiple characters within a scene without fragmenting the story, and how to create big scenes. The Scene Book This book is essential reading for every writer. Another great book on scenes is, "Make a Scene" by Jordan Rosenfeld." Mark O'Bannon www.BetterStorytelling.Net/Blog

  6. 4 out of 5

    Angie

    I've always considered good writing an art, something that can't really be taught or learned. This book showed me how wrong that idea was. Talent is important to good writing, but so is form and technique. Scofield teaches how pulse, events, beats, point of view, scenarios, and several other tools add up to create a story that really works. She also gives some really good tips for revising your own writing. I would recommend this book to anyone who is seriously considering writing a novel.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Don

    Ever get that writing book that you wish you would've had before you started the project you're currently working on? This is that book.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Matie

    I don't really like this, this was a textbook that I used for my short story class. Scofield uses way too much of her own writing to explain her points and explains points that most people already understand in a way that is confusing a best and at worst downright stupid. I really disliked this and think that you could find a much better book on writing craft than this one.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Stoney deGeyter

    I found it difficult to read. I need clear, concise points and examples and this really didn't provide that. The examples were overly long, making it difficult to tie them back to the points being made. There is definitely some helpful advice buried in here, but it was just too much work for me to find.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Justin Emrick

    It had some benefit in scene brake down and defiantly helped to drive home certain views that I hadn't considered. But the examples she used didn't really draw me in too well, mostly because it was not the type of literature I found to be enjoyable. Other than that if you are looking for more scene development this is your book.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Shari Fox

    This is the best instructional book on writing I have ever read. I highly recommend this to other beginner writers of fiction or memoir. I underlined liberally and will go back to these pages frequently. Sandra Scofield is a great teacher.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Elizabeth Felicetti

    Had feedback that my CNF needs to be more scenic. This book is enormously helpful.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Elliott Foster

    Excellent writing guide by one of America's preeminent writing coaches and instructors!

  14. 4 out of 5

    Bethany Judd

    Scofield's approach to fiction writing is very accessible. She includes multiple examples from various texts to illustrate the different principles she discusses in this book, which I enjoyed because there were so many different styles of writing included. I read the book for a class I'm currently enrolled in called "Fiction Fundamentals." I think the title of my class is actually a good way to describe this book--it is full of the fundamentals of fiction. Scofield covers all the basics of ficti Scofield's approach to fiction writing is very accessible. She includes multiple examples from various texts to illustrate the different principles she discusses in this book, which I enjoyed because there were so many different styles of writing included. I read the book for a class I'm currently enrolled in called "Fiction Fundamentals." I think the title of my class is actually a good way to describe this book--it is full of the fundamentals of fiction. Scofield covers all the basics of fiction writing in this book, so if you're new to fiction writing or aren't really sure how to tighten up your prose, this is a great starting point. I would recommend this book to newer writers or to prolific writers who have yet to really focus on their craft. I did learn through the book, but it left me wanting more. Again, a good book for the basics, which I needed help with, but probably not for a more advanced writer? I will most likely continue to refer to it in the future.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Rachel

    I've never understood beats within a scene as well as I do after reading Scofield's chapter on this. She is clear, has interesting exercises at the end of each chapter, and uses examples from literary novels rather than commercial fiction. I love the way she talks about "Big Scenes" -- those with many characters, which I am juggling in my book right now. She recommends focusing on your POV character as your life jacket in jumping into deep water. I find her guidance clear and compelling, and she I've never understood beats within a scene as well as I do after reading Scofield's chapter on this. She is clear, has interesting exercises at the end of each chapter, and uses examples from literary novels rather than commercial fiction. I love the way she talks about "Big Scenes" -- those with many characters, which I am juggling in my book right now. She recommends focusing on your POV character as your life jacket in jumping into deep water. I find her guidance clear and compelling, and she has changed the way I structured many scenes in my book, helped me tighten their focus and -- yes -- diagram and clarify the beats. A book that should be on the shelf of every fiction writer and dramatist.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Hannah Goodman

    I read Sandra’s book (she teaches at The Solstice Program at Pine Manor where I am currently a student) out of curiosity but found her ideas helpful. It was more of a workbook, which wasn’t what I was looking for. I think this is a nice craft book to have on hand when trying to fine tune your stories and make sure you have all the elements of scene. What I really liked was Sandra’s little bits about her own writing life and how she created her own self-study of books. The other nice part about t I read Sandra’s book (she teaches at The Solstice Program at Pine Manor where I am currently a student) out of curiosity but found her ideas helpful. It was more of a workbook, which wasn’t what I was looking for. I think this is a nice craft book to have on hand when trying to fine tune your stories and make sure you have all the elements of scene. What I really liked was Sandra’s little bits about her own writing life and how she created her own self-study of books. The other nice part about the book is that it isn’t too technical and very user-friendly for beginner or advanced.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Ninette

    I found this book on a reading list for a college writing course, and I must say it is one of the very few craft books I've seen that I would recommend to any writer. Though it is definitely fit for a college level writing course, it thankfully doesn't drone on about theory. Instead Scofield takes a more hands on approach with helpful exercises, questions to ask, and sample scenes. This really did manage to demystify the process and gave me a greater sense of control in my work - and thus delive I found this book on a reading list for a college writing course, and I must say it is one of the very few craft books I've seen that I would recommend to any writer. Though it is definitely fit for a college level writing course, it thankfully doesn't drone on about theory. Instead Scofield takes a more hands on approach with helpful exercises, questions to ask, and sample scenes. This really did manage to demystify the process and gave me a greater sense of control in my work - and thus delivered what the blurb promised.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Kathy Karch

    To be honest about it, there are better written books about writing scenes in fiction. The author dropped sample excerpt after sample excerpt in rapid fire, and each was taken from some obscure piece of work. It felt as if the author was trying to prove that she knew what she was talking about just by loading the pages with as many different excerpts as possible. It didn't work for me. She would have done better to rely upon two or perhaps even three pieces of work and reference them only to mak To be honest about it, there are better written books about writing scenes in fiction. The author dropped sample excerpt after sample excerpt in rapid fire, and each was taken from some obscure piece of work. It felt as if the author was trying to prove that she knew what she was talking about just by loading the pages with as many different excerpts as possible. It didn't work for me. She would have done better to rely upon two or perhaps even three pieces of work and reference them only to make her points.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Aditi Chopra

    This book was recommended to me by a colleague. I was lost on scene writing skills and this book has given me a few important elements to consider when writing scenes. I haven't read any other book on scene writing so I can't compare. I found myself skipping over a lot of material in this book, perhaps it is the writing style that didn't work for me. None-the-less, I am more equipped with scene writing skills than I was before reading this book.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Madly Jane

    Very good books on how to write scenes in a book. LOVED IT!!!!!!!!!!!!! All writers should have a copy in print on their desk to use. Just went through it a second time to make a hit list for checking scenes. I have used other books too, but this one gave me a great way to form my thoughts on how to look at scenes from from first crappy draft to the last polished one, which might be dozens! RECOMMENDED.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Diana Burtnett

    This was a HUGE help to me! I was having problems with my current novel and either 1) Knew what the problem was but was unsure how to tackle the resolution or 2) Had no idea what the problem was .... clear as MUD ... but knew there was definitely issues. This book identified ways to solve problems and also helped me to identify what the problem was. Definitely will be going on my shelf of reference books where I can rely on when I need it.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Steven

    As the title indicates, this is a primer, but I could easily see a beginning writer getting lost in the dense exposition about scenes. Still, this would be a helpful book for someone trying to move from writing exposition to writing scenes. The best part of the book was the section on independent study. That section has a nice roadmap - and templates - for how to read and evaluate scenes. It can be used to study scenes of other writers or as a way to evaluate and revise your own scenes.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Joy

    this book focuses on writing effective scenes by breaking a scene down into its components (action, character response(s), ending). there are examples from other authors (both well-known and obscure) and exercises at the end of each chapter. my only complaint is that the longest examples come from her own work.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Rachel Blom

    This book came highly recommended, but somehow it wasn't what I expected. To me, there was much familiar advice and I found the references and examples 'too literary' for my tastes (I'm more commercially oriented I guess). The biggest take away for me was the concept of 'beats' within a scene, this really helped me improve my scene writing.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Leslie Zampetti

    Scofield's book is a must-read for any aspiring writer. Clear, concise, and with plenty of helpful exercises, The Scene Book breaks down the necessary components of a good scene and how to write one. The only missing element is a meaty discussion of the transitions between scenes and how they can affect a book.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Rose Margaret Deniz

    This book was practical and helpful, and I found myself taking notes and jumping into a working on a scene after having read a chapter or an exercise. I didn't think all of the exercises were right on, and some of the example passages got long and wieldy, but overall would say it was a good intro.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Selina

    This was a very helpful book. Scofield outlines a lot of really important scene writing techniques. My favorite thing about this book has to be the exercises at the end of every chapter. While I didn't do any as I was reading, I definitely plan on using them when I am struggling!

  28. 5 out of 5

    Natalya

    Not being a seasoned writer, I found this book extremely helpful in developing a writing method. Scofield provides some excellent tips for organizing your thoughts and writing and how to develop the best possible scene.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Linera

    Mmmm, this looks good. I like the cover, just like a comp book, black and white. Good, useful information on beats, tension, pulse, focal points in a scene.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Meg Mims

    A must-read for writers, but I wished she'd used more genre fiction examples than literary fiction. Still, it was worth reading and was pretty meaty. Not as "beginner" as you'd think.

Add a review

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Loading...
We use cookies to give you the best online experience. By using our website you agree to our use of cookies in accordance with our cookie policy.