How to Write a Killer Scene

This post by Jean Oram originally appeared on The Helpful Writer on 1/30/13.

I’m going to give you a secret on to how to write a killer scene. Are you ready for a very easy and very effective scene writing tip?


Come in Late, Leave Early

Wait… what?

Jean, what does “come in late, leave early” mean? And what does that have to do with writing a killer scene?

Let me explain.


Come in Late

When writing a good scene, you want to come in late. In other words, once the action is underway. There always has to be some movement or the reader gets bored. For example, I just cut a scene last week where I was not coming in late by any stretch of the imagination. In fact, my character was sitting with her grandmother DISCUSSING what action she should take and her gran suggested some ideas.


So I came in late. I scratched that scene and opened the next scene of Champagne and Lemon Drops with Beth already taking the action.

The benefit? The reader has to play catch up. Not so much that they feel as though they missed something huge and give up, but enough that they are curious. What is Beth doing? What is her plan? Who is she going to see? They know there is action because they are in it. And not having it all laid out beforehand I’ve created a hook that draws them in.


Click here to read the full post on The Helpful Writer.