Archive of Articles about Writing

Adding and revising scenes in your novel

When you begin adding and revising scenes for your novel, the process is a little different than writing a first draft. Your goals are different because at this point, you are filling in missing information and working within the constraints of what already exists. Your characters, tone and plot have already been set, and you are now either expanding on what you have or looking to make serious changes to one or more of those elements.

Here are some tips for writing new and revised scenes for your novel:

  • Take the time to read the surrounding text. If you are adding a scene, read the previous and following scenes again so that you can refresh your memory about what happened and get a feel for the writing style you have been using.
  • Don’t get too caught up in exposition. When adding scenes that bridge gaps in time or plot, you can often find yourself focusing more on moving the story forward than on writing a good scene. Remember that each scene must stand on its own.
  • Keep a backup of each draft. Sometimes when you are revising, you make changes or deletions that you later regret. Its good to have an older version to refer back to.
  • Be patient. Creating the perfect new scene in the middle of a novel is no easy task. You won’t always get it right, or even close to right, on the first try. Don’t be afraid to start over if you don’t like the way the scene is going.
  • Pay attention to your notes and to your information guide. It can be easy to forget what your goals are when you are in the middle of a revision. Take the time to get yourself back on track.
  • Think about the ramifications of your revisions. If your rewrite changes the motivations of a character, for example, make sure that the other scenes in the novel reflect that different motivation.
  • Consider revisions that are dedicated to a specific purpose, such as improving dialog, expanding descriptions or strengthening relationships.