Writing Deep Scenes
Revved up after reading Martha Alderson and Jordan Rosenfeld’s Writing Deep Scenes (Plotting Your Story Through Action, Emotion, & Theme).
I’m impressed with how this co-authored book reads as a singular voice throughout. There is a seamless, conversational tone that feels like a one-on-one coaching session with an editor or coach who encourages the writer to dig deeper, and move toward more exciting storytelling.
First, there is an overview of plot, scenes, and scene types, and then Alderson and Rosenfeld delve more deeply into the layers of Action (“what happens”), Emotion (“how characters and readers feel throughout the journey”), and Theme (“the meaning produced in the process”). The author’s guide you toward stronger scene-by-scene, forward movement, and ultimately, a tighter and more engaging plot.
There are expertly cited examples of both classical and modern literature, across genre, that illustrate Alderson and Rosenfeld’s points on how to effectively engage readers through plot—again with the use of scenes that delve further into Action, Emotion, and Theme.
The role of emotion (“how characters and readers feel throughout the journey”) is, I find, something that is overlooked in writer’s how-to/reference books; however I feel it is a vital element of the craft of storytelling. That said, I particularly appreciate Alderson and Rosenfeld’s reminders of how emotion (in individual scenes and throughout the entire story one seeks to tell) can effectively serve a plot’s forward momentum—no matter the genre.
As the author’s suggest, the deeper a writer delves into the Actions, Emotions, and Themes that build the scenes and plot of her, or his story, the better it will resonate with readers.
I’m quite pleased to have this new inspirational, intellectually satisfying, and emotionally charged addition to my own writer’s toolbox. I’m certain that I’ll refer to Writing Deep Scenes time and again as I delve deeper into my own manuscripts.