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Make a Scene: Crafting a Powerful Story One Scene at a Time Paperback – November 23, 2007

ISBN-13: 978-1582974798 ISBN-10: 1582974799

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Make a Scene: Crafting a Powerful Story One Scene at a Time + Plot & Structure: Techniques and Exercises for Crafting a Plot That Grips Readers from Start to Finish + The Emotion Thesaurus: A Writer's Guide To Character Expression
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 276 pages
  • Publisher: Writer's Digest Books (November 23, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1582974799
  • ISBN-13: 978-1582974798
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 6.1 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (51 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #73,546 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

In Make a Scene, Jordan E. Rosenfeld magnifies with intelligence and insight the underpinnings of powerful story making. Demonstrating in a step-by-step manner why a scene works, Rosenfeld shows how fiction writers can apply this knowledge to their own work. The astonishing depth and breadth of this guidebook, which utilizes a wide range of narrative styles to underscore a point, make it a vital tool for writers serious about their craft. -- --Jessica Keener, fiction editor of AGNI Magazine

Make a Scene is one of the clearest, most pragmatic books about writing fiction I have ever come across. Refreshingly lacking in ego and full of useful examples and discussion. -- --Maryanne Stahl, author of The Opposite Shore and Forgive the Moon

Make a Scene will answer all the questions you might ask--and some you won't think of asking--on the scene. In clear and concise language, using innumerable examples from James Joyce's "The Dead" through Joseph Conrad's The Secret Sharer and on to Harry Potter, with explanations of terms from "the reveal" to the epiphany, Jordan Rosenfeld explores all the secrets of the scene. For the beginning writer, as well as one who thinks he/she knows it all. -- --Sheila Kohler, award-winning author of Cracks, Crossways, and Bluebird: Or the Invention of Happiness

About the Author

Jordan E. Rosenfeld (www.jordansmuse.blogspot.com) is the creator and host of the literary radio program Word by Word: Conversations with Writers on NPR-affiliate KRCB radio. Her essays and stories have appeared in literary journals and magazines such as Night Train, Pedastal Magazine, the Summerset Review, the Red Hills Review, and the Dickens Literary Journal. Her articles and essays have appeared in such notable publications as Writer's Digest, The Writer, The St. Petersburg Times, and she contributes book reviews to KQED Radio's California Report.

More About the Author

Jordan E. Rosenfeld is author of the novels Night Oracle (romantic suspense), Forged in Grace (psychological suspense), and the writing guides Make A Scene: Crafting a Powerful Story One Scene at a Time (Writer's Digest Books) and Write Free! Attracting the Creative Life with Rebecca Lawton (BeijaFlor Books). She is managing editor at SweatpantsAndCoffee.com and has contributed to two anthologies: Zebulon Nights, and Milk & Ink. Jordan's essays and articles have appeared in such publications as AlterNet.org, Publisher's Weekly, The San Francisco Chronicle, The St. Petersburg Times, The Writer and Writer's Digest magazine. Her book commentaries have appeared on The California Report, a news-magazine produced by NPR-affiliate KQED radio.

Look for her forthcoming books A Writer's Guide to Persistence: A Toolkit to Build & Bolster a Lasting Writing Pratice and, with Martha Alderson "The Plot Whisperer", Deep Scenes: Plotting Your Story Scene by Scene through Action, Emotion and Theme.

www.jordanrosenfeld.net

Customer Reviews

I highly recommend this book to writers of all types and levels.
Christine Falcone
Rosenfeld's Make a Scene: Crafting a Powerful Story One Scene at a Time is an extremely useful book for writers, both fiction and nonfiction.
Stephanie Anagnoson
The book is full of great examples which make explanations very easy to understand.
Patrushka

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

58 of 68 people found the following review helpful By susan_d on November 28, 2007
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I'm a published writer who already knows a few tricks of the trade. But I was thrilled to read this book and learn so much more. Rosenfeld deconstructs all the different elements of scene writing in a very easily digestable manner, gives examples and reasons for what can work, and what can't. Most importantly, her focus is always on how things will affect the reader, which means that it can help other writers to keep their audience in mind and is a great guidebook to help us edit/trim/revise for maximum impact with our audience. This book is comprehensive, but very well laid-out so it makes for a great quick reference quide. I'm quite sure it's going to help me get more oomph out of my storytelling.
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36 of 42 people found the following review helpful By Stephanie Anagnoson on December 25, 2007
Format: Paperback
Rosenfeld's Make a Scene: Crafting a Powerful Story One Scene at a Time is an extremely useful book for writers, both fiction and nonfiction. She has divided the book into four parts:

Part I Architecture of a Scene;
Part II The Core Elements and the Scene;
Part III Scene Types; and
Part IV Other Scene Considerations.

After reading the book cover to cover a month ago, I've turned to it three times in the past month to look up issues including trying to identify what worked so well in Jim Shepard's short story, Love and Hydrogen, locating a specific scene type for a memoir that I'm writing, and trimming narrative summary in a piece that I'm editing.

This is truly a comprehensive, compelling, and fun read. The exerpts that she uses as examples are all interesting, not all classic but perhaps soon to be. I highly recommend it to people who write.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Tommy Gunn on August 1, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I love "Make A Scene". The author breaks down the scene to its core elements--Setting, The Senses, Character Development and Motivation, Plot, Subtext, Dramatic Tension, and Scene Intentions. AFter breaking down the elements of a scene, she then continues to give insight on the different types of scenes at a writer's disposal, and techniques to use to make the scene work. I love this book; it is stationed by my computer desk, on standby, for immediate use.
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162 of 218 people found the following review helpful By An Android Fan on April 27, 2008
Format: Paperback
Make A Scene by Jordan E. Rosenfeld attempts to focus on how to create great scenes for a written work. She delves into many different types of scenes in an attempt to pick apart the elements that make these scenes memorable, engaging and keep the reader reading.

If you enjoy "literary" or "character-driven" books as opposed to "commercial" or "plot-driven" books (in reality the distinctions are far too artificial to be useful) then you will likely be familiar with many of the sources Rosenfeld uses. That is largely because with only one exception literary works are all she draws from. The only commercial reference she uses is from "Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back" when Vader uses those stunning four words that we all know by now.

And if you are a man, you might find reading the examples she provides to be a bit like watching a long series of previews of most of the movies on the "Lifetime" channel. Most if not all of the stories Rosenfeld picks from are stories where the man is abusive, controlling, usually addicted to alcohol and uses his fists to communicate to his wife.

One was about a naive young woman who is warned by her oppressive mother that men "only want one thing" and she goes off with a man against her mother's wishes only to find out that this man really DOES only want one thing and is abusive to her.

Edit - Saturday Sept 6, 2008

Another example of this involves a story about a daughter going to see her estranged father. She notices her piano teacher and it's obvious her father doesn't want to talk about it overmuch. The mother has long since died and was branded an insane woman. The father at that time was quick to hop right on the bandwagon.
Read more ›
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Donna G. Storey on May 23, 2008
Format: Paperback
I have a lot of writing reference books in my library--A LOT of writing reference books--and I'm rather picky when it comes to adding another one. But after reading MAKE A SCENE, I happily made room in the easy-access "favorites" section of my bookshelf. This is one of those rare a how-to books that not only makes me feel sharper as an editor, it inspires me to dive back into the creative phase of the process, not to mention the humor and flowing prose made it a true pleasure to read. The book is a great resource not just for scene-building but for all the fundamentals of good writing, with checklists, or "muse points," to help make your characters more compelling and your plot--even if you write literary fiction!--into the foundation of a page-turner. Beginners will get lots of new information (check out "Architecture of a Scene," and "Core Elements"), while experienced writers will benefit from stepping back and examining why they do what they do from instinct. This book is invaluable for the editing phase of novel writing--remember, each scene has to earn its place--and I know I'll be referring to it often!
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Gary Desomber on April 3, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Are you a beginning writer looking for help getting started? Are you an accomplished writer with several sales under your belt? Either way, you can't go wrong with this book. I am a screenwriter and the book is written primarily for fiction book writing so I had to transfer the information into a different format for my purposes, but the breakdown & explanation of a scene and how they form a story is quite helpful.
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