Book Review: Making a Scene: A Guide for Fiction Writers


I would like to apologize for posting this review so late.  This should have been done much sooner, like last night, but a migraine popped up with the force of a sledge hammer to the back of my skull.  I things don’t seem very clear, it is because the migraine is lingering but on its way out.

making-a-scene-coverConsidering that I am no fan of non-fiction, I found myself enjoying books from Brent Spencer.  I have read several of his books about writing.  This one, Making a Scene: A Guide for Fiction Writers is just what someone who wonders if they are making a scene right or not.

This is a short, quick, read, with plenty of examples from works by other authors, both contemporary and classic.  At only 34 pages in length, it is packed with information and advice for the novice writer.  He starts it off in the most simplistic of ways and builds from there.

Judging by the way he discusses the process of making a scene, keeps it simple.  The K.I.S.S method came to mind immediately and it definitely worked.  He starts with differentiating types of scene: exposition, summary, and a full scene.

Exposition, he describes as something very general and short.  Example: We were mad.  Then the summary.  Example: Because the car was totaled, we were mad.  Then, he shows a short but expressive scene.  Example: The front end of the car was pressed inward around the thick trunk of the tree the thief crashed into.  Steam was spewing out of the cracked radiator and the engine was dying one loud knock at a time.  Carl and I were furious that our brand new car was in such a sad state.  While Carl clenched and unclenched his fists, he eyed the unconscious thief as if he was a prize lamb and he was the wolf.  Myself?  I was angry, but someone needed to keep a level head or we’d both end up in jail.  (Yes, I know, not the best but it is a brief example)

I found this book to be both entertaining and informative which is what I like.  Many times I wished all my teachers in high school could have done the same.  Ah, well, we live and learn, and this book makes it easy to learn.

My only problem with the book is that it was too repetitious.  It stuck to that single concept and repeated it with different wording over and over.  Considering it is a single subject book, I understand why, but it didn’t have to be a one note idea.

Overall, I give this one a 3.5 star but it is one that I will read again and again.  As I mentioned, it is repetitious but, it doesn’t really explain how to make a scene.  It more shows and lets you figure it out from there.

Making a Scene can be found on Amazon for 99 centers.  It is worth buying.

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