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  • Gregory Zeigler

Scene Checker by Gregory Zeigler

Rare as Earth gets a checkup.

I'm working on a final edit of my novel in process, Rare as Earth.

A list, entitled "Scene Checker,"sits upright in a cookbook rack behind my laptop as a constant reminder while editing. Each scene must pass muster by satisfying the critical questions posed by the checker.

Those questions are:

Is the scene dramatized?

Does the point of view shift unnecessarily during the scene?

Is there too much internal monologue in the scene?

Does the scene contain appropriate dialogue vs. telling what characters said?

Is the scene motivated?

Does the scene move internally while moving the plot?

Does the scene increase emotional involvement with the hero(s)?

Does the scene show rather than tell?

Does the scene contain confusing descriptions with more than three details at a time?

Are the scene's verbs as strong as possible?

Are adverbs used sparingly in the scene?

Do the scene's sentences contain superfluous words?

Do the scene's sentences use active vs. passive voice?

(Or should it be, "Is active rather than passive voice used in the scene's sentences?")

Whereas one might assume an experienced novelist (Rare as Earth is my third novel after The Straw That Broke and Some Say Fire.) would automatically conform to the the scene checker's demands, I find it is easy to fall into lazy habits while writing early drafts. And I confess I violate many of the rules above. So it works for me in later edits to have a constant reminder, and scene-by-scene ask these important questions. I hope it can help you, too.

In future posts, I'll break each of these scene checker questions down for examination and discussion.

But for now, I've got to get back to checking my scenes.

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