PICTURE BOOK FOCUS Don't Skip the Scenes - Part 2 PACING

  Natascha Biebow suggests key ways to write your picture book scenes
so they have more impact i
n part two of a three-part blog

You've figured out which passages of your story can be written using a narrative summary and which need to be fleshed out into scenes. Now what?

Not all scenes are equal – each scene has a different rhythm, depending on where it is in your story and its purpose.

Descriptive scenes
Some scenes are descriptive, allowing for a more leisurely pace with lyrical language, metaphors or similes. 

Action Scenes
When building up to the climactic turning point, the language should turn pacier:

shorter sentences 
• more direct language 

These give the plot a faster pace and action. They indicate conflict and drama.

The goal is to get readers to experience the story physically and emotionally, so that they are in the moment with the characters as the action unfolds. Readers must be fully invested in the plot. Do this by varying the weight of the scenes, clearly building up to the story's climax and the resolution of the story problem. 

Avoid an episodic plot, where all the scenes are the same weight and the reader doesn't care about the outcome of the story.

Especially important - DON’T skip over the scenes and summarize when you get to the climactic turning point of your story!  (This should come 75% of the way through your book and lead up to the resolution).

Make key moments in the story have greater impact by writing detailed scenes.
With carefully-crafted scenes with the right rhythm at the right time, your story really will grab readers.

In the next part of this blog, read about how to use SHOW, DON'T TELL in your scenes . . .

Read the first part of this blog about SCENES: WRITING ACTION here.

Natascha Biebow is an experienced editor, mentor and coach, who loves working with authors and illustrators at all levels to help them to shape their storieswww.blueelephantstoryshaping.com
She has been awarded an MBE for her services to children's book writers and illustrators as Regional Advisor of SCBWI British Isles.


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