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Try to paint emotion in thick when you have a dramatic scene.
Use more words than you think you need.
When Bonnie, your killer, is about to confront a random fisherman after the murder, YOU have the scene in your head. You’re seeing it in all its tension-filled glory.
But is the reader?
Did you put it on the page?
Then, dwell there.
Here’s a good EXAMPLE, broken down into detail.
How long would it take to read 45 seconds of material when you are reading FAST?
(I don’t know, but it’s a lot.) Set a timer and see how many words you get through (of someone else’s book) in 45 seconds. Count the words and add about 25% to it. That’s the minimum you should have between Bonnie seeing the strange truck coming and her deciding to leave.
Next, there’s a scene in Stephen King’s book Pet Sematary where a jogger gets his skull bashed in by a passing car and dies on the MC’s floor. Get the book from the library or buy it online and read that scene. It’s a cheap lesson in drama writing from a real master.
Read that passage.
King shows the scene and then details the brain showing and whatnot, so
we HAVE to dwell there for a moment, in that gross visual. And he holds our nose right up to it.It’s gory but it has an effect.
You’re supposed to be grossed out because the MC was. This is different, but it’s the same idea.
It’s a technique. Use it.
The difference in detail here versus regular scenes will be noticeable but since you only employ it at highly dramatic times, readers will not even care; they will simply feel the character was deeply into the scene, so the reader will be – which is what we want.
Your reader is your willing accomplice. Give them what they came for.
Dan Alatorre has had a string of bestsellers and is read in over 112 countries around the world.
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