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How to build a scene when writing fiction …

Fig.1 A ‘Block Reminder’ for scene building based on the ideas of author and writing coach Susannah Waters.

Last September I attended a writer’s retreat in Devon with Susannah Waters. On day one she introduced me to simple ideas on how to build a scene. For the last six months I have tried to keep this in mind as I write up first one, then a second novel.

Often, the comments I receive would have been addressed had I given these pointers some thought. Too often, I know, I upload a treatment, not a draft. I tell the story, but I don’t ‘show it’ in the sense of engaging the imagination of the reader.

This homemade die covers six key points:

W = who am I?

PH = stay in the person’s head

5S = refers to the five senses: see, hear, smell, touch and taste

D= asks what am I doing

SY=asks what am I saying


T=asks what am I thinking.

I used a seed box and my son created the fonts on a template, cut it out and stuck it to the box.

This morning, before I used this, I ran through eight episodes each more of a synopsis than a treatment. Each now is far longer, but this is good if I am now keeping the reader in my head.

Controlling plot is another issue; I never can. The very process of writing for me, like telling someone a dream I have head, means that new things come into my head and want my attention.

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