Question of the Month: Favorite Scenes to Write?

Welcome to the very first Question of the Month, where one question is asked to the entire Pub Crawl group 🙂 This month’s question was:

What type of scene do you like to write best? Kissy scenes? Fight scenes? Chase scenes? Other? Any particular reason why?

And here were our answers!

Erin Bowman

I am a huge fan of action scenes, specifically, escapes. Running from the enemy, fleeing a bad guy, aborting a failed mission, breaking out of custody, escaping a burning building. If it involves an escape, I’m in my element! I find these sort of scenes both exciting and challenging to write. Striking the right balance between description and urgency is key; you don’t want to be so verbose that the pace slows and the reader is pulled from the moment, but you do want to give enough detail that the entire exchange can play out before a reader’s eyes as smoothly as an action scene in a movie. (I tend to listen to a lot of movie scores when I write these scenes. I find the Jason Bourne soundtracks particularly effective).

Marie Lu

My favorite scenes to write are argument scenes. There is nothing as delicious for me as watching two of my characters ripping into one another, each convinced s/he’s right and each frustrated that the other doesn’t seem to understand. It’s a really enjoyable challenge trying to write dialogue that makes sense for both sides, to attempt to make the reader think each side has a valid point.

Jodi Meadows

This won’t come as a surprise to anyone, but I like writing kissing scenes, or almost-kissing scenes. I mean, they’re HARD to write, because I want to get them right and keep them from being cheesy or just like every other kissing scene, but I like the challenge. (And I like it when they kiss.)

Savannah J. Foley

My favorite scenes to write are the kissy scenes, too 🙂 In particular the first time the characters allow themselves to kiss. I only write these scenes when I’m swept up in the story and really feeling their motivations, so they usually end up getting written out of sequence. But, I like it that way, because it gives me that much longer to go back and edit and refine the scene until it’s perfect.

Biljana Likic

I really love writing scenes with tension, where things are just straddling the line between two outcomes. It doesn’t really matter what the two outcomes are; it could be almost-kissing scenes like with Jodi (I love love love it when characters almost kiss and it’s tense and you finally think it’s gonna happen and then something stops it. I can just feel the frustration in the characters), or almost-death scenes, where if one thing is said or done wrong, it’s over. Or it’s not ;). Suspense and tension scenes are among my favourites to read, especially if they keep you guessing. Close second to write are argument scenes like with Marie! Love the exercise in wit :D.

Vanessa DiGregorio

I really enjoy writing conflict scenes. Not necessarily physical conflict, but scenes in which characters are emotionally distressed. I’m not sure why, but I love getting into their heads when they witness something wrong or horrible, or when they struggle with their beliefs or their feelings. Confusion, chaos, and uncertainty – that’s what I love to write. I suppose you might think that I just like seeing my characters squirm in discomfort. But I’m not cruel for no reason! To me, that’s when you really get to understand a character, and when you start to truly feel for them.

Vahini Naidoo

My favourite scenes to write are reveals—the scenes where some new piece of information is discovered, or a secret completely unravels. I love that these scenes are super tense and the way that they can often shift the way that the reader, and characters, view the entire story. As a writer, feeling the entire narrative swing in a different direction is pretty incredible. There’s also usually a lot of pay off in these scenes, which I love.

Leigh Bardugo

I love to write dialogue, particularly if a villain is involved. Every conversation is really two conversations: the words being spoken and the words left unsaid. I like trying to mine the tension between them. When a villain enters the scene, that tension is heightened by the fact that each word—no matter how innocuous—carries a potential threat. (Just think of Snape saying, “Missster Potter” or Hannibal Lecter muttering, “Love your suit.”) Besides, between the tortured back stories and megalomaniacal speeches, villains are just so much fun.

Kat Zhang

My favorite scenes to write? Hmm…I guess I can really only narrow it down to two 😉 Edging out on top by a tiny bit are, like Vee, reveal scenes. I love the inherent tension in them, the shock for the character or the reader or both. I also have a fondness for chase scenes. For a while, I may or may not have had a chase scene in just about every story I wrote 😉 That’s not so true anymore, but I really enjoy the challenge of keeping that sort of scene moving and urgent, but still supplying enough details to keep the reader rooted in the text.

What about you? What are YOUR favorite scenes to write?


15 Responses to Question of the Month: Favorite Scenes to Write?

  1. Julie Mar 16 2012 at 7:00 am #

    These are such great answers! I think I’m with Leigh – I love to write dialogue. So much of a character is revealed by what they say (and what they DON’T say!) 🙂

    • Liv Mar 16 2012 at 6:57 pm #

      Agreed! My favorite part of writing is sneaking secrets and bits of shared history into my dialog. It’s challenging, but oh so satisfying. 🙂

    • Kat Zhang Mar 17 2012 at 3:17 pm #

      Dialogue is one of my favorites, too! 🙂

  2. Chelsey Flood Mar 16 2012 at 9:38 am #

    Great answers!

    As for me, I love to write tense family scenes, when all of the secrets that have been creating the tension of the novel are beginning to unravel and become known, finally, to all characters. It’s fun trying to show how everyone is feeling, and trying to capture how people truly interact when under emotional strain like this.

    • Kat Zhang Mar 17 2012 at 3:17 pm #

      Oooh, good one! Families/old friends are so much fun to write because of all the history between them 🙂

  3. Marc Vun Kannon Mar 16 2012 at 9:57 am #

    Does ‘witty banter’ count as a scene type? Or is it more like ‘fun transitional material’ to ease the way from one scene into another? Either way I like to write that stuff. Usually while channeling famous character actors delivering my lines.

    • Kat Zhang Mar 17 2012 at 3:18 pm #

      Witty banter is fantastic to both write and read 🙂

  4. Tim Mar 16 2012 at 7:18 pm #

    I have no idea what sort of scenes I like to write. I guess in every single story i’ve ever wrote there’s been one scene that just popped into my head and I just wanted to write. A lot of the time when I try to write novels I never reach this point and then I get bored. But when I write short stories…ha ha then I get to work my mojo.
    I guess the scene I’m most looking forwrd to at the moment is in my current (although exams and studying has made it delayed) short story. It’s a fight scene during a syntesia sensory overload.

    • Kat Zhang Mar 17 2012 at 3:19 pm #

      Ach, exams are so annoying when they cut into writing time 😛 A fight scene during synesthesia overload sounds really cool!

  5. Stephanie Allen Mar 16 2012 at 8:04 pm #

    I like to write anything where I get to describe things – especially setting. I love closing my eyes and imagining the place, and picking out the sensory details. (I’m a poet, too, so I spend a lot of time thinking about these things.)

    • Kat Zhang Mar 17 2012 at 3:20 pm #

      I love these sort of passages, too! If I weren’t worried about slowing the story to a standstill, I’ve describe everything in minute detail, I think!

  6. Kacey Mar 16 2012 at 8:10 pm #

    Yay Question of the Month! I love reading everyone’s answers.

    I think my favorite scenes to write are ones with a lot of tension or emotional distress. Betrayals, deaths, near deaths, near kisses, secret reveals–basically anything where the characters are a little bit (0r a lotta bit) on edge. My second favorite is a sillier answer, but I also love writing super awkward scenes. Like when one or two characters know something that the rest don’t, and everyone just won’t shut up about it. Those always fun 🙂

    • Kat Zhang Mar 17 2012 at 3:21 pm #

      I’m glad you like the QOTM format!

      High tension scenes are the best, aren’t they? 🙂

  7. Sooz Mar 17 2012 at 9:35 am #

    Um, I definitely love to write the action and the romance scenes! Oddly enough, those must be the ones I’m best at writing too since usually those are unchanged from first draft form…whereas all the OTHER scenes get rewritten about twenty bazillion times. 😉

  8. Kat Zhang Mar 17 2012 at 3:22 pm #

    Hehehe, how cool that you didn’t have to edit the action/romance scenes. And I totally know what you mean about re-writing some scenes a bazillion times…

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