The Use of Opposition in MICHAEL CLAYTON

mich clay

I first came across the technique of using an ‘Hierarchy of Opponents’ in a Screenwriting class given by *John Truby in London, and have used it ever since as a means of challenging the levels of conflict and Internal/External Opposition in my crime fiction.

It works something like this: 

  • Create an Hierarchy of opponents, which are linked together by alliances
  • Hide this Hierarchy from the hero and usually the reader – except for flashes which indicate just how much danger the hero is getting into.
  • Hide the TRUE Agenda of each opponent
  • Have the hero go up against a main opponent early in the story
  • As the conflict escalates, allow the hero to discover that there is a secret, STRONGER hidden opposition which then attacks him.

If you link this to a sequence of Reveals in the crime, this should help to increase both the personal stakes for the protagonist AND the plot. No sagging middles here, thank you.

Example – The use of Opposition in the excellent crime movie Michael Clayton.

mich clay

Although it could be argued that, in many ways, the antagonists for the first half of the movie are Micheal and Arthur, the story still builds around the use of Hidden, Stronger opposition.

Here are a few I have come up with. I have not added the moral dilemma, social drama aspects since these are conceptual but they are there for the audience of course.

Hierarchy of Opponents

Their True Agenda which is revealed as the pressure grows

Himself

His own self-disgust at having taken the bribe of 80K and a 3 year contract from his boss to forget that Arthur was killed and suppress any evidence.

He knows that Arthur was murdered. He found the evidence in the champagne glasses, the farmer girl Annie witness, and the report Arthur had printed up.

He knows that he can convince Karen to believe that SHE can buy him off because he is capable of it. Especially for 10 million.

‘I sold out Arthur for eighty grand and a three-year contract and you’re gonna kill me?’ 

For me, Michael becomes his own most powerful hidden opponent, since by going to the Police, he has almost certainly lost his job re the non disclosure contract he signed as part of the 3 yr deal. No job. No certainty as to what he will be doing next.

The head lawyer at the U/North Firm – Karen, played by Tilda Swinton

Karen knows that they are guilty and so is her boss, and has to cover up their joint culpability. And her own terrifying inadequate weakness and insecurity.

To do that, she has to remove the evidence = the audience knows that her henchmen followed Arthur and killed him, and are now following Michael and blow up his car.

Michael has no idea that he is a target, even when he starts to investigate Arthur’s murder.

THIS is one hidden, powerful opponent.

His boss at the law firm, Marty, played by Sydney Pollack

He needs to keep his biggest 3Billion dollar class action suit client. To do that he pays Michael off with the money he needs and a 3 yr contract.

Arthur – the Manic Depressive lawyer who is having a breakdown since it stopped taking the medication

Arthur has discovered that they represent is guilty and cannot deal with it.

He has built up a report with one of the key witnesses Annie and believes that he loves her. Of course he also believes that he is ‘Shiva the God of Death.’

Arthur may be Micheal’s friend, but he is going to bring him down and he cannot see the depth of that at the beginning – it will build.

The fixer, Zabel, who wants his money back on the restaurant

Just doing his job. His boss wants the money. Zabel is powerful enough for Michael to be afraid of him. And he wants to protect his brother Timmy. Possible physical threat.

His brother, Timmy, who has cost him his restaurant and his get-out money, which will drive him to take the bribe from his boss.

Family conflict. His closest social system.

Linked to his failure as a husband, as a father to Henry, as a brother to his cop brother, Gene, and as a son to his sick father.

The family are also the symbol of how far he has come. Humble beginnings to a public lawyer to private jets and the contacts needed to become a janitor lawyer in a 600 lawyer firm.

You can use the same technique to develop a series of revelations and surprises. It works! Have fun.

http://www.truby.com/

 

Posted in The Writing Life

Character Arc

What's Your Story
Jake Sully and his avatar - ready for his character arc

Jake Sully and his Avatar – all ready for his character arc – Image Copyright 20thCenturyFox

Transformational CHARACTER ARC

The Mystery Man on Film and Joshua James have been engaged in a fascinating dialogue on the concept of ‘Transformational Character Arc’ as opposed to ‘Emotional Connection’ – that unique aspect of story telling which we, as readers and viewing audiences, find so compelling and compulsive, but which may not, necessarily, involve a deep, visible, character arc.

There are a huge number of articles online about to create character arc, including excellent notes from my pal Julie Cohen, but for me, some of my light bulb moments have come from studying screenwriting, where character arc is seen as a fundamental component of any screenplay.

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Posted in The Writing Life

Reconnecting with my Teenage Self

nina in chamonix

In January this year I decided to take a six month break from writing romance fiction.

Why? Because I felt that something was not working.

Hard work does not bother me – it never has. But there comes a time when it is taking longer and longer to finish a romance project and I had to face up to a hard fact. It is taking longer because I didn’t want it enough.

I love writing. I love making friends with the characters who come alive inside my head. That’s why I have written 19 romance novels in 5 years, plus countless proposals and story notes and partials for more.

But somehow along the way I had jumped onto a hamster wheel of my own making which was turning faster and faster, powered by the stories and the contract deadlines. Deadlines I had pushed for. I know how important it is to be prolific in today’s publishing world.

Now it was time to jump off that treadmill and take some time to catch my breath.

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Posted in Starting a New Story

My Summer of Love at the RNA Conference

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Nina:

It was so lovely to meet up with Sophie this weekend at the RNA Conference – I completely agree that spending time with like minded people is SO valuable. Love it.

Originally posted on Sophie Pembroke:

Writing can be a lonely business in some ways. I mean, yes, you have your beloved characters to keep you company and engage in the sort of dazzlingly quick dialogue you (well, I, anyway) never quite manage in real life, but it’s not the same as talking to real people, is it? And even when I do get to talk to real people, at the school gates or whatever, it’s a little hard to engage them on the subjects of character conflict and plot, or RSI prevention, or worthwhile promo ops, or the baffling world of royalties statements.

Which is why it was so lovely to get away to Telford at the annual Romantic Novelists’ Association conference this weekend.

This year’s conference was expertly organised, brilliantly run, and just so, so much fun. It was hot and sticky, but nowhere near as bad as last year, the food was…

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Posted in The Writing Life

It’s my 5th Birthday!

nina in reading july 2009

I seem to recall that after 5 years of being married, the traditional wedding anniversary gift is something made of wood.

But what about the 5th anniversary of your first book being released?

Amazingly it has been 5 years since ‘Always the Bridesmaid‘ was released in July 2009.

Always the Bridesmaidus bridesmaid crop

It would have to be something writing related… or perhaps linked to romance fiction?

Most of all it would have to be part of all of those “first” moments.

Like the time you open your first box of author copies.

first book

And then you have your book launch at your local RNA chapter with the pals who supported you when you were still slaving at the day job and writing in every spare moment? And yes, the chapeau is a Nina one-off creation.

nina in reading july 2009launch party RNA Reading July 2009

 

The icing on the cake? When “Always the Bridesmaid”- my debut book – was shortlisted for the RNA Pure Passions awards. A wonderful chance to share the fun and excitement with my pals such as the lovely Kate Hardy and Rosie Dean and fellow shortlisted author Nell Dixon who won the award.

Nina and Kate

nina and janpure_passion_awards_logoNina and NellI

Amazing to think that “Who’s Afraid of the Big Bad Boss” is my 18th romance for Harlequin!

Since then there have been more wonderful moments and fantastic times but you never forget the first. So perhaps the best present would be a photo album to capture those moments which represent the culmination of a lifetime of reading and writing.

So. Raising my beaker of tea to the screen. Here is to the next 5 years!

 

 

Posted in The Writing Life

Special July Offer. Launch your eBook for only $5

udemy provided image

It’s summer time.  You are tackling your ToBeRead pile and dusting off the BBQ.

Perhaps in your Pimms fuzzy brain you think that you should really get around to self-publishing that manuscript which has been waiting for ages for you to get to work on it?

Then I have just the course for you – How to take your manuscript from text to sales in 30 days.

This is the most comprehensive training that I have ever written and during July it is now available for only $5.

The eBook Launch Formula

That’s $5 for over 2 hours of training and a fully comprehensive set of notes and advanced advice based on years of practical experience and detailed research. What else would you expect from a geeky girl?

Snap it up now using this Special Coupon because the price goes back up in August.

https://www.udemy.com/the-30-day-ebook-launch-formula/?couponCode=LaunchWeek

 

Posted in The Writing Life

Sad Day. My last ever Harlequin KISS is released.

You know how there are some stories that are a joy to write from start to finish?

My July Harlequin KISS/Mills and Boon Modern Tempted was a delight.

Let me give you an insight.

The hero is a cartographer adventurer working in Alaska and the story starts with him driving a team of sled dogs across what should be frozen sea ice on the way to make his flight back to London.

My photographer heroine is in the middle of a lingerie and bedroom toys birthday party in a borrowed house, organised by her sister. 

And guess who walks in on them?

australia 2 in 1US large printModern Tempted

The only sad thing is that since the KISS Line is closing in January, this is my last series book for Harlequin.

But it is great to go out on a high! Enjoy!

About the Book:

Enemies make the best lovers… 

Scott Elstrom craves freedom, adventure and exploration…so leaving the wilds of Alaska behind to save the family company isn’t top of his list of priorities! And getting the traditional CEO portrait painted by one feisty, quirky, sexy fireball…? Not in a million years!
Toni Baldoni needs this commission – just because the new boss won’t play along, it doesn’t mean she’ll back down! But suddenly Toni’s not sure if it’s determination that’s got her pulse racing – or something altogether less appropriate! Trouble is, this battle of wills is not so much hard work…it’s a lot more like fun!

Who's Afraid of the Big Bad Boss?

 

Posted in The Writing Life

Great Deal on my EBOOK Launch Training Course

Great Offer on my eBook Launch Course. This is the most comprehensive training that I have created to date on how to plan and implement your eBook launch from the final draft to post launch. Down from $68 to only $17 with this coupon.

The eBook Launch Formula Udemy Course

Get Your Discount Coupon Now before the deal runs out!
http://www.edudealer.com/coupon/17-75-off-the-ebook-launch-formula-from-script-to-sales-in-30-days-original-price-68/

Posted in The Writing Life

Meet Rosie Dean – Hit Lit Pro Launch Tour

Nina:

Great interview – loved it!

Originally posted on Jenny in Neverland:

HitLitPro-Banner

If you love a little humour and sometimes, a sense of ridiculous – meet…

rosie-name-header

… enough heart to touch the reader!

header-hitlitpro-med

Hit Lit Pro is proud to be supporting and promoting ten authors whose novels are causing quite a stir! Throughout the next year we will be bringing you all the latest information and news about their books.

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Posted in The Writing Life

What is a Story Beat?

what is your story

 

What is a Story Beat?

 

Short Answer? A beat is a unit of a scene in a story where there is an exchange between the characters and the action/ reaction/revelation advances the story and shape the turning of that scene.

 

Long Answer? I can only give you my personal understanding based on my experience. And sorry, but I can only do this in the long way.

From the viewpoint of a Fiction Writer! 

Many years ago I was thinking about writing fiction and looked around for a writing class – no luck, but there was a screenwriting class by a bloke called Robert McKee over two days in London on something called Story Structure. This was in dark days without Internet but I took the chance – when I got there, it was full of well known actors and movie directors! Scary!

 

I went in on a Saturday morning and by Sunday teatime my brain would never be the same again.

 

shutterstock_124904123- free  image of man on whiteboard - compressed

Image Courtesy of Shutterstock

 

 

Until that weekend I had no clue that every second of a movie is choreographed on the page to create the precise emotional and visceral response in the viewer sitting in the dark in the cinema.

 

They achieve this through the Structure of the Story.

 

How? By working to find the best way of expressing that story in the most powerful and effective manner possible – and that means structure.

 

Acts broken down into Scenes. And each Scene is broken down into Beats.

 

This is how Jenny Cruisie** defines Acts better than I could.

 

‘Act One: The conflict begins and while the protagonist is fighting the beginning skirmishes, the entire book is set up–all characters introduced at least by reference, all subplots begun, the mood, time, and place, etc. This is the promise you make the reader which must be fulfilled in Act Four. So Act One is set-up while you’re telling your story. It can’t just be you setting up everything, the story has to begin on page one and escalate to the turning point/climax. Remember Act One is a story of its own.

 

Act Two: The turning point has thrown the protagonist into a much more dangerous/desperate story, and here the conflict builds. You’re not setting up anything any more, now you’re revealing character change as the action escalates. You build in tension to the middle turning point where something happens that is so radical that it forces the character to act in ways he or she has never done before, thus cementing character’s change halfway to his or her complete change at the end. I like to make this act shorter than the first one for pacing purposes, but it almost always ends up shorter anyway because I’ve got so much heavy lifting to do setting up the book in Act One.

 

Act Three: The conflict continues to build (which is why screenplay structure considers Act Two and Three one act, they have the same definition: Build). The stakes are much higher, the protagonist’s desperation much greater, etc. ending in the third turning point, often referred to as “the dark moment” when all is lost and your protag is on his or her knees. For pacing and tension purposes, I recommend making this act shorter than the last one.

 

Act Four : This is the shortest, fastest act, everything in motion, hurtling toward the climax and resolution. This act is where you resolve everything including all subplots before the climax. Answer all questions, end all character arcs, finishing everything before the protag and antag face each other in the final climactic scene, the obligatory scene.

 

Everything in the book rests on that final climactic scene.

Think of your plot as a triangle balanced on its point.

 

The climax is at the point. You can have a short resolution scene after the climax, just enough to give the reader breathing space, a chance to relax within the story before it ends. But keep it short; you want the reader remembering the climax, not the resolution. ‘

 

Okay. Each Act then has to be broken down into scenes.

 

Let’s say that I am writing a short contemporary romance – say 50, 000 words.

I like to write scenes which last from 4 to 5 pages, so that something happens every 4 to 5 pages.

If one page = 250 words, 4 pages = 1000 words, 5 pages = 1250 words.

So. I would expect to create between 40 and 50 scenes, divided up into chapters.

 

Think of it as a storyboard.

 

This is the flow of the story. Here are my hero and heroine and this is how he/she is acting and feeling and how the romance and the storylines are working in that chapter.

 

THAT scene has to give the reader THIS information/ part of the story so that the chapter works within the bigger framework of the story.

 

If you have 50, 000 words, and, for example, 11 chapters, you only have 4000 to 5000 words a chapter. That’s 4 scenes. So each scene has to achieve many functions. So you challenge that scene, you interrogate it, you ask it hard questions.

Now to answer my own question. What is a Story Beat?

A Story Beat is how you build up a scene, step by step, so that the scene does its job in that chapter in that place in your story.

 

There are so many examples I could use but this is one from a Harlequin Mills and Boon I read last week –

 

Beat sheet – ‘Steamy Surrender by’ Ally Blake *

Questions you have to ask about the scene.

  • Who is my viewpoint character or characters.
  • What does the hero want in this scene? Why are they here? Why now?
  • Who is going to block that want? How?
  • What are the turning points?
  • How does the whole scene turn from start to end?


Okay, so here goes my pathetic look at the opening scene of this short contemporary.
I think there are 10 beats to the point where the hero and heroine actually talk to one another for the first time. At the end of this scene the story launches into another scene, still in the shop, where the detailed dialogue takes off. That has a separate series of turning points and an escalation of the tension in the scene which leads off into the main Chapter One Turning point.

1
Morgan pushed her large sunnies higher onto her nose then stared across Como Avenue, the ice cold Melbourne street in which the cabbie had left her. She rubbed fast hands down her arms to ward off the insidious chill in the air. And she frowned. This was reason she had spent twenty-four hours seated on planes, fifteen of those hours next to a guy who hadn’t showered in at least a week?
When lawyers had contacted her in Paris less than two weeks earlier with the news that she’d inherited five shopfronts in Carlton, she’d been silly enough to allow herself to imagine a quaint florist, a charming café, maybe even a funky boutique or two.
But considering the bequest had come from her grandfather on her mother’s side she ought to have known better. The Kiplings had two great talents; self-preservation, and intra-family disharmony. Passing on prime real estate in a move of last minute conciliation would just have been out of character.
_______________________________________________________
We know that the heroine is called Morgan. She has travelled from Paris on a 24 hr flight after receiving an inheritance from her grandfather – where there is trouble within the family – and now she has come to inspect the five shopfronts in Melbourne. It is an ice cold day.

_______________________________________________________
2
As it turned out, her inheritance offered a city full of savvy shoppers a drycleaner, a real estate agency with faded advertisements lining a cracked window, an Indian restaurant with dusty red curtains and crazed vinyl chairs haphazardly lining the footpath, and a place called Jan’s Wool and Fabric with a sign so old it was missing the tenth digit which had been added to all Australian phone numbers many years before.
The final shopfront was the building’s saving grace. With new signage, golden down lights and clean windows, the façade of the Bacio Bacio Gelataria was like a sunburst of panache within the hotchpotch of ancient, dilapidated outlets. And though the idea of gelato seemed ludicrous considering it was at most five degrees outside, it was enough for Morgan to decide to start her stealthy reconnaissance there. She stamped her half numb feet against the cold cracked concrete, took a gulp of her lukewarm, over baked, congealing, takeaway coffee for courage, and checked the street before crossing, reminding herself to look right first and last. Yet while nearby Lygon Street hummed with constant traffic, Como Avenue had none.
‘You sure ain’t in Paris anymore,’ she told herself before jogging across the empty road.

_______________________________________________________
Five shops. The last one is new and shiny. A gelataria. The empty street is quiet with cracked concrete. She plans to start her ‘stealthy reconnaissance’. Her decision is to start with the ice cream shop. Note the detail here – she needs the money and this is her inheritance.

_______________________________________________________
3
Saxon sang along with his favourite Elvis Costello CD as he turned Bessie, his beloved midnight blue 1968 MkII Jaguar, off Lygon Street and into Como Avenue.
When she purred to a full stop in the staff parking area at the back of the run of shops, he gave her his habitual loving stroke of the dash, and told her what a good girl she was before getting out.
_______________________________________________________
This is the hero. English classic car and English old style music. He has good taste, stylish, and talks to his car – an endearing touch – treats it like a girl. Instantly appeals.

_______________________________________________________
4
‘Sheesh,’ he said to no one in particular when the freezing wind whipped about his face and leached through his jeans.
He didn’t remember it having been this cold in years. Not since the halcyon days of cruising Lygon Street in nothing warmer than a T-shirt and Levi 501s, the tape player in his hotted up Monaro cranked loud with Billy Joel while his similarly under-dressed cousins shouted offers to the lucky ladies on the sidewalk as they thundered by.
He pulled his beanie tighter over his ears and his sheepskin collar higher around his neck. Not all was lost. The sky was crystal clear indicating fresh snowfall on the northern mountaintops. He might still get the chance to take Bessie for a run up to Mt Buller before the week was out. Skiing, mulled wine by the open fire, with a little Tom Jones on the CD player. If he played his cards right perhaps even a warm willing ski bunny in faux fur and tight pants might help take the edge off.

_______________________________________________________
He grew up here – knows the street and the area, and used to cruise with his cousins. He knows the good life – sporting, good food and wine, music, and he is single. Looking for some female company. He likes ladies and fun. Has a business and has money.

____________________________________________________
5
The sound of a distant tinkling bell split the air, drawing him out of his daydream. He’d know the sound of that particular bell anywhere. For him it meant business.
He popped a stick of cinnamon gum in his mouth, waiting for the peppery sweetness to warm him as he jogged to the back door of the shop. He knew he ought to just give his cousin Darius his weekly kick in the pants and leave Trisha to handle the customers. But the thrill of the chase warmed his blood more than any Tom Jones song ever had.
Nope. Darius wouldn’t get much of a wave before he spent a busy lunch hour doing what he did best. Selling ice-cream to Eskimos.
_______________________________________________________
He is a business man and this is his business. He should leave the work to his cousin and staff – but he loves selling ice cream. This is what he does best. He has cousins who he used to hang out with. Hint at his musical tastes/ cultural refs. Time of day.

_______________________________________________________
6
The soft tinkling of an old fashioned brass bell heralded Morgan’s introduction to The Bacio Bacio Gelataria.
She slid her knee length knitted scarf from around her neck and tied it around the handle of her oversized designer bag – one of a trillion freebies she received as a perk of working as a photographic set designer for a top fashion mag in Paris. Then she strolled deeper into the room, her creative eye skimming over numerous visual delights.
_______________________________________________________
She is a set designer for a top fashion mag in Paris. And she likes the décor.

_______________________________________________________
7
Rendered walls were painted a deep golden yellow bar one feature wall covered in an impression of Tuscan hills. A huge gleaming bronze espresso machine took up a tidy portion of the long mahogany counter top, leaving the remainder of the space for curved glass cabinets, cleverly backlit to make the most of at least three dozen long trays filled with towering swirls of multi-coloured gelato, flat spoons sticking out the top of each perfect mound like the first flag on Mount Everest.
It was the kind of place someone in her job dreamed of stumbling upon.
A perfect blend of colour, texture, and lighting. It bombarded the senses in such a way it sold not just foodstuffs, but an image, a feeling. She could imagine men in fedoras crowded around the several tiled wrought-iron tables talking football spreads and planning heists, and little kids in newsboy caps sticking their noses against the large window, wishing they hadn’t spent the last of their pocket money on some silly toy.
It was a pity she was here on not nearly so pleasant a task as scouting out a Chic Magazine set. A great pity.
Instead, by the end of the week she would have to have made a decision: up the rent astronomically to make the place viable, or sign off on the plans burning a hole in her bag and raze the building to the ground.

_____________________________________________________

She is an artist and has an artist’s eyes when she looks at the place. It creates a feeling, not just an image. But her imagination goes riot.
Then reveals – she had to decide whether to increase the rent, or sign off on the plans burning a hole in her bag – and level the place.
What plans?
Why by the end of the week? asks questions in the reader.

______________________________________________________
8
Once inside, Saxon replaced his beanie for a black Bacio Bacio cap, left his leather jacket over a chair in the staff room, and tied a deep red apron around his waist, tightening the knot in front.
He tucked his hair behind his ears, decided he’d better get a hair cut before his mother saw him again, and then hastened out into the warm inviting surrounds of his home away from home to find a woman had entered his haven.
_______________________________________________________
He has to cut his hair before seeing his mother – a woman he respects.
The shop is his home from home. And a woman had entered his warm and inviting space.

_______________________________________________________
9
He slowed. For this was not just any woman, but a woman who deserved a second glance. And a third. And dinner and a movie and at least an attempt at a nightcap.
Blonde she was. Dirty blonde with luscious waves trailing long and unkempt down her front. Huge dark sunglasses covered half her small face. At least three gold chains hung around her slim neck, carrying oversized charms that jingled against one another as she moved through the room, giving her a kind of musical quality. And poking out from her ridiculously high-heeled bronze sandals the nails of her dainty toes were painted working-girl-red. Actually she was kind of small all over; the class of woman his father would say fit nicely into one’s pocket. Her pint-sized loveliness was sheathed in a tight gold V-neck top that adhered lovingly to some seriously eye-catching curves, like caramel sauce over ice-cream. And a now-you-see-it-now-you-don’t sliver of skin between the bottom of her top and the top of calf-length cargo pants kept him riveted for a good thirty seconds
.

_______________________________________________________

He is good with details and appraises women in a certain way.

[ and you can’t help notice that she is wearing high heeled sandals and bare feet – and it is freezing outside. This could be a plot device or a symbol that she is a phoney all surface girl.

_______________________________________________________
10
Saxon made a concerted effort to rein in his libido which had become overexcited astonishingly quickly for such a cold winter morning. For simmering just below the initial wham bam thank-you ma’am attraction he felt a thread of residual discomfort, like a red flag waving in the very corner of his sub-conscious. Something about this woman was making him itch.
He caught Trisha’s eye instead and motioned that he’d get this one. The grin on Trisha’s face told him she’d been more than half expecting it. He curled his lip and it only made her giggle behind her hand before she snuck out the back to take her morning break before the lunch rush set in.
Alone with the mystery woman Saxon leaned on the counter and began his signature pitch that had sold a million gelatos and turned his family’s one small suburban shop into a trans-Tasman empire.
‘What’s your poison?’ he asked.
_______________________________________________________
This is not the first time saxon had looked after female customers.
He senses something different about this woman.
He has a sales pitch – and he has turned the small family business into an empire. So he is a successful entrepreneur. And he has thought about both his parents and his cousins as working together. Contrast with Morgan’s family on her mother’s side = self-preservation and family disharmony.
_______________________________________________________

  • What does the hero want in this scene? Morgan has come to see the five shops she has inherited from her grandfather- and decide whether to raise the rent or go with the plans and level the place – and she had to decide by the end of the week
    · Who is going to block that want? the occupants of the five shops and especially Saxton, the ice cream seller
    · How is the conflict going to escalate in this scene? Saxon sees her and is attracted to her
    · What are the turning points? Morgan decides to start her investigation at the ice cream shop. Saxon decides to serve in the shop instead of leaving it to the cousin and staff, and then he sees Morgan and is attracted – and stays.
    · How does the whole scene turn from start to end? Morgan is wearing sun glasses in the freezing cold – ends with Saxton in the warm and inviting shop.

KEY POINT
Some people break down the scene this way before they write.

MOST writers I know create the ‘discovery draft’ as Nora Roberts I think calls it, then use Craft and structure to make the story as strong as possible.

 

Do you do this type of ‘Scene Design’ for every scene?

You could, but your brain would explode, or your book would take a very long time. But certainly for the opening scenes which have to work hard and key turning points in the book.

 

*http://www.allyblake.blogspot.com/ – from her book extracts. Great book!

Resources?

Terry Rossio and Ted Elliott wrote ‘Shrek’ and ‘Pirates’ and have a superb database of articles on Craft.http://www.wordplayer.com/columns/wp32.Plot.Devices.html

Google ‘Story Structure’ or ‘Story Beats’ and procrastinate for hours.

OTHER-

Robert McKee wrote a well known book ‘ Story’ and there are two long chapters on scene design and scene analysis – his analysis of scenes from the movie ‘Casablanca’ is amazing.

There are hundreds of other books on Amazon on structure, but life is too short.

YouTube? Who has time to YouTube. Think of all those Beats I have to correct!

 

Posted in The Writing Life
Welcome

Hello! I am a writer, foodie and avid shoe collector who is completely addicted to genre fiction and the craft of creating compelling stories.

I am lucky enough to write Warm, Witty and Wildly Romantic love stories for Harlequin Mills and Boon Romance and Harlequin KISS and Modern Tempted, Romantic Mysteries for Carina UK and NEW - Crime.

Find out more here -

http://ninaharrington.com/books/deadly-secrets/

I love to hear from readers so if you feel like dropping me a line, do get in touch through my Website at :

http://ninaharrington.com/

Nina

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