Thursday, April 17, 2014

Becoming the Chateran Tour: Essentials of Scene Construction by S. J. Aisling

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Feels, Forshadowing, and Forwarding of Plot: The Essentials of Scene Construction

Having trouble deciding if a scene in your manuscript is worth keeping or not? An easy way to make up your mind is to factor in how much the scene accomplishes for the book by supplying an emotional connection between the character(s) and reader, hinting at things to come, or actively moving the plot forward. I like to sum it up this way: Every scene in your book should meet at least two of the three Essential Fs:

Forwarding of plot

‘Feels’ is slang for emotional impact or the personal emotions stirred up by something, usually by a book or movie. They're important in your character's development - you want to create a character whose struggles, quirks, and personality resonate with readers on an emotional level. Emotional characters have a bigger impact on readers, and stick with them longer. Being sure to include scenes that deepen your character's internal life, personal changes, and decision-making will keep your book from being about a bunch of robots. 

Foreshadowing is the scattered clues and hints that allude to what will take place later on, the tidbits of bait that make the reader keep reading. They have to keep reading, see, because character one said something in chapter five that must mean something - because why else would he have said it? A fun thing to do is to create a scene that, at first glance, is mainly feels and a bit of forwarding, but, after five more chapters, turns out to be the beginning of a plot twist. This’ll have your readers bouncing in their chairs yelling with glee: ‘I knew it, I knew it!’ 

Forwarding the plot is just that - moving the plot forward. Forwarding scenes propel your characters on to the next challenge, plot twist, or big clue to the puzzle of the main plot. In reality, every scene should have this aspect in it, but it doesn't always have to be the biggest or most plain element, as mentioned above with foreshadowing. It is actually wise to take a break and focus on a feels or foreshadowing-focused scene every once in a while, to give both your characters and your readers a chance to catch their breath before racing on to the next big cliffhanger.

So, if your scene in question can lay down good evidence of feels, foreshadowing, and forwarding of plot, the answer is obvious: it’s a keeper. 


Becoming the Chaterlan
by S. J. Aisling
Date Published: February 1, 2014

When Princess Rhea’s actions inadvertently condemn two innocent knights to death, she wakes to the hard reality that not even nobility is above the law. All her attempts to remedy the situation only complicate it, however, until she finds herself a fugitive in her own kingdom, having dragged her best friend into the trouble, as well. Their only hope for pardon? To accompany Sir Paladin and Sir Zephen in their sentence:

Slay, or be slain by, the Dragons of Sama-Ael-Fen.

Travelling incognito, they meet with more malicious Phoenixes than could be coincidental, discover the mysterious disappearance of numerous citizens, and come face to face with a reawakened evil power. With the kingdom oblivious to the connection of these dangers, it’s up to Rhea and her outlaw companions to stop the rising threat and redeem their names – if they can survive their quest.


Stacia Joy has always loved to tell stories and invent fictional lands and characters. But she never considered becoming a writer herself until age thirteen, when, inspired by a pretend play she invented with a friend, she wrote the first draft of Becoming the Chateran. The story has since expanded into what will become The Chateran Series. Stacia Joy also writes in several other genres, including steampunk and paranormal/science fiction, and occasionally writes poems about buffalo.

Wanting to be able to show others what her imagined universe looks like, Stacia Joy taught herself to draw by studying the work of illustrators like Alphonse Mucha, Arthur Rackham, Kate Seredy, and Jan Brett. She also received training in illustration and graphic design at Madison Area Technical College, and plans to become a full-fledged freelance illustrator before long.

When not immersed in writing or art, Stacia Joy spends her time playing the piano and folk harp, composing music, Irish dancing, singing at the top of her lungs, and learning new things. She also enjoys helping with children's ministry at her church, and currently resides in the Madison, Wisconsin area with a kitten named Lord Peter Whimsey.

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