Scene Prompt #46: Show Me First

This is more of a revision prompt, and I’m taking it wholesale from Jack Bickham. You want to make sure, at the beginning of every new scene, that the readers are oriented. How do you do this? By making sure you let the reader know the scene’s 5Ws.

The reader of your novel has to be kept aware of where the action is taking place, when it’s happening, who is involved and what is going on.

It’s vital, too, for the reader to understand why something is happening. . . .

It sounds simple. It can be. Often, however, it isn’t.

Why? Because writers so very often fail to distinguish between what they’re seeing in their imagination as they write, and what they are actually putting down on paper for the reader to see. . . .

Be sure to show the reader enough of what you’re seeing in your imagination.

Jack Bickham

So, for this prompt, either pick a scene you want to write or one you’ve already written. Determine your scene’s 5 Ws–make a list. Now, either write those 5 Ws into the first couple of paragraphs as you open your scene. Or go through your already-written scene and check that the first couple of paragraphs include those 5 Ws. If they’re not there, add them.

At some point, do this for every scene of your story.

Have fun.

Book that inspired this post


That’s it for me!

How about you? How do you make sure your reader is oriented to your scenes? Tell us in the comments!

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