Write Better Fiction: Avoid Repetitive Scene Openings

Today on Write Better Fiction we’ll cover Scene Entry Types. Write Better Fiction is a process to help you critique your own manuscript and give yourself feedback. This will help you improve your novel, so you’re ready to submit it to an editor.

Over the last few weeks, we covered scene entry, scene middle, and exit hooks. I’d like to back up a bit and look at scene entries again.

My husband was my first beta reader, and he read the first draft of the first novel I wrote. As it turns out, that novel is AVALANCHE, to be published this spring by Imajin Books.

His first comment to me, and I was a little crushed, was:

“Do you know you start every scene with a character in a doorway?”

I was expecting, “I love this book,” not actual critique. Well, I’ve since toughened up and have realized critique is much more helpful than unwarranted praise if you’re trying to write better. His comment drove me to figure out how to vary scene openings.

As you know, I use a spreadsheet to self-edit my novels.

I have a column called entry type. The choices are:

  • Dialogue
  • Thought
  • Narrative
  • Action

If you have other categories, please let me know in the comments below.

Once I’ve filled out my spreadsheet, I create a pie chart to see if my novel is balanced.

Screen Shot 2016-05-02 at 10.00.51 AM


Then I create a graph, to check if I’ve start the scenes in a variety of ways and didn’t get stuck in a pattern.

Screen Shot 2016-05-02 at 2.11.27 PM


D is dialogue

A is action

T is thought

N is narrative.

The idea is to ensure I haven’t started too many scenes in a row in the same way. If I have, I go back and revise the scenes, looking for a different way to write the opening. I don’t want to bore a reader by getting into a pattern.

I critiqued DESCENT, BLAZE and AVALANCHE using the techniques I’m sharing in Write Better Fiction, and I believe this helped me sign with a publisher.

Please let me know in the comments below if you have any suggestions how to check for repetitive scene entries?

Thanks for reading…


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