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Scene Editing to Grab Reader Attention

couple kissing, Zara Altair, scene moment in fiction, how to edit a scene

Check Your Scenes for Story Essentials

Indie authors are feeling a big push to produce as much as possible in the shortest time. Get those books up! Sell more!

At the same time your readers expect a great story rich in detail and emotional tugs. Sometimes when we rush to get the story done, those rich details get left behind as we follow the story outline or what comes next in our head.
Scene Essentials

  • Is it a proactive or reactive scene?
  • Who is the main point-of-view character?
  • How do they feel, what emotions are running through the POV character?
  • Have you covered at least three of the five senses?
  • What’s the setting? Have you given the reader a feel for the surroundings?
  • Is the pacing balanced? Dialogue, Action, Narrative.

Next, Consider where your scene is in the overall story. Then, examine the elements of the scene and how it fits in the overall story line. If it doesn’t move the story forward, don’t spend more time editing or adding to the scene. Cut the scene.

Slow Down For Details

Read through the scene so you can address all the scene elements. Once you have added what you think is appropriate, the last step is to check for balance within the scene.

  • If the story is moving slowly, add dialogue to speed it up.
  • Use narrative of dialogue or a combination of the two to add character background. Be certain to refrain from information dump. Add a piece or two at a time.
  • If the scene is mostly dialogue intersperse some action or narrative, or both.
  • Use dialogue to get a character out of his or her head.
  • If the scene is top heavy in one scene element–narrative, dialogue, action–balance it out by adding the other two elements

A Better Story Equals More Sales

Your readers may not know why a scene bothers them or slows them down or makes them stop reading, but the effect of missing details can lose readers. Taking the time to go through scene by scene will enliven your story and keep readers turning the pages.

Zara Altair

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