From Summary to Scene, a Demonstration

When a scene is important, writers dig in. They change the pace to bring the scene to life for their readers. They use techniques that can make the reader see what the characters see and feel what the characters feel.

In the example below, you can see a scene develop from simple summary to something more dramatic.

Summary

I woke up. A man came into my room and threatened me with a knife.

Developed with Play-by-Play

I woke up. Just then, my door opened, and a man slipped inside. From his coat, he pulled a knife. He smiled and raised the blade.

Developed with Play-by-Play and Thought Shots

I woke up with the weird feeling that someone was in the apartment with me. You’re being silly, I thought. You’re the only one home, you bolted the door, and you’re safe in your bedroom. Just then, my door opened, and a man slipped inside. From his coat, he pulled a knife. He smiled and raised the blade. I could not even move.

Developed with Play-by-Play, Thought Shots, and Zoom In Description

I woke up with the weird feeling that someone was in the apartment with me. You’re being silly, I thought. You’re the only one home, you bolted the door, and you’re safe in your bedroom. There wasn’t a sound in the whole world but the cars hissing by on the wet pavement below my window. Just then, I heard the faintest click. As though someone had set his fingers on the handle of my door. Suddenly then, door opened, and an enormous man slipped inside. From his cloak, he pulled a huge, curving knife. He smiled and raised the blade.  I could not even move.

Developed with Play-by-Play, Thought Shots, and Zoom In Description and Dialogue…

I woke up with the weird feeling that someone was in the apartment with me. You’re being silly, I thought. You’re the only one home, you bolted the door, and you’re safe in your bedroom. There wasn’t a sound in the whole world but the cars hissing by on the wet pavement below my window. Just then, I heard the faintest click. As though someone had set his fingers on the handle of my door. Suddenly then, door opened, and an enormous man slipped inside. From his cloak, he pulled a huge, curving knife. He smiled and raised the blade.  I could not even move.

The stranger chuckled. “I see you there, lying in the dark, staring back at me like a little mouse.” He snorted. “It is embarrassing. Certainly. If you cannot be brave, you might, at least, be polite.”

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