Monday, April 14, 2014


Anne Greene here. If you don’t want your readers to skim parts of your books, use the following template for each scene you write. 

Before you write each scene write a one sentence description of what you want that scene to convey: the purpose of the scene. If the scene has no purpose, delete the scene. 

Define what drives the scene: the conflict. Show the worst thing that could happen to this character at this particular time.  

Define the chapter’s goal. This is a turning point. One or the other of the character’s ends up on top or changes. 

Write a great opening sentence to that scene. This quickly gains your reader’s attention. 

Define what you want to reader to feel. Use each of the five senses to make the reader feel what you want her to feel: Sight, sound, smell, feel, taste. Sight is the easiest. Taste is probably the hardest. But work all these into your scene. These are significant details that bring the reader into experiencing the scene. 

Establish the time, place, and event. Make certain you have action, dialogue and narrative in fairly equal parts. Move the story along. Create tension through complications. 

Make certain your hero/heroine rises to the occasion: has courage. Perhaps the hero/heroine does something uncharacteristic. This shows change and growth. Make sure the change is logical as they grow from one point into the next point. Make certain everything they do is well motivated. Readers believe any action as long as it’s well motivated. What keeps the hero/heroine from just walking away? 


Each scene should end with a hook to keep the reader engaged.  

Do not bore your reader. Anything unnecessary to plot or characterization DELETE. For instance: sermons, excessive naval-gazing, even excessive action. Each word needs a reason for being included in the scene. Do not add anything unnecessary to the scene.

What do you skim in the books you read? Are you like me and simply toss a book that bores you, or do you soldier on until the end? Join my FOLLOWERS and leave a comment for a chance to win an autographed copy of my Scottish Historical Romance, Marriage By Arrangement.  

Last week Debbie Wilder, Renee Blair, Deb Kastner, Kristin Mayfield, Sarah K., and Ladette Kerr all won a copy of Marriage By Arrangment. 

ANNE GREENE delights in writing about wounded heroes and gutsy heroines. Her second novel, a Scottish historical, Masquerade Marriage, won three prestigious book awards. The sequel Marriage By Arrangement released November, 2013.  A Texas Christmas Mystery also won awards. Anne’s highest hope is that her stories transport the reader to awesome new worlds and touch hearts to seek a deeper spiritual relationship with the Lord Jesus. Anne makes her home in McKinney, Texas. She loves to talk with her readers. Buy Anne’s books at Talk with Anne on twitter at @TheAnneGreene. View Anne’s books, travel pictures and art work at




  1. I toss a book that has too many scenes I skip. Do you?

  2. This is an excellent summary, Anne. Very well put. I read every scene, every adjective. It's hard for me to toss a book unless I strongly object to its text, but I've left a few unfinished because they just didn't have what it took to keep me interested.

    1. HI Lee, thanks for visiting! Your the kind of reader a writer loves!

  3. I don't toss books, but I do stop reading after the first chapter if I don't connect with the writing or story.

    1. Hi Patricia, so nice to see you here and visit with you. A writer really should have you interested by the end of the first chapter. I only read further myself if I'm using the book for research..

  4. GREAT blog article, Anne -- VERY original!!

    I start skimming it there's too much detailed description. Like once I was reading a well-known author that I love, but she went on and on about oil wells and drilling, etc., and remember thinking -- a paragraph or two would have done it for me because I want emotional interaction, not a mechanics lesson. :)


    1. Hi Julie, love seeing you here to visit. Yep, emotional interaction is what we all look for. I love your books, btw!

  5. I have a hard time defining exactly what the purpose is of a scene. I try to make sure that something happens in the scene to move the story forward. Can you offer some tips on helping determine the purpose?

  6. Hi LeAnne, Lovely to visit with you here. Great question. A scene is the essential building block of a plot. And a plot is only as good as its weakest scene. Since you asked this question, I'll devote my next blog to What IS A Scene. Thanks for the great question and visit with me next time to discover the purpose of a scene!