Tag Archives: bestsellers

Write Hot Scenes For Bestselling Fiction: 5 Magical Tips

Hot Scenes Deliver Bestselling Fiction: 5 Magical Tips

New authors struggle with their scenes. They know that when you write powerful scenes, readers respond, and the result is bestselling fiction.

Bestselling authors are masters of their scenes. Their prose may be less than elegant, but it delivers an emotional punch. It’s always amusing when unsuccessful writers sneer at bestselling authors, whining that a certain bestselling author “can’t write” and doesn’t “deserve” success. This is nonsense.

As I’ve said many times: let go of the words in your fiction. Focus on FEELING.

If you focus on emotions, literary snobs may sneer, but you can laugh all the way to the proverbial bank. Emotion is delivered in scenes: the action’s happening now, and readers are engaged.

One of the biggest challenges for new authors is getting a handle on scenes. So, let’s do that today.

Scenes are the building blocks of your fiction

In the 21st century, every reader understands drama.

TV and movie stories are delivered in scenes. If you want lots of readers, you need to learn to deliver your stories in scenes too.

Readers are impatient. They just want the story. Deliver. Show, rather than tell. “Showing” means writing in scenes.

Here’s a graphic to help you to write hot scenes.

How to Write Scenes in Novels and Short Stories

Now let’s look at the elements which make up a scene.

Scene elements: how to set a scene

Here are the five elements of a hot scene.

1. Where and when, time and place: a scene plays out, NOW

Scenes are set somewhere. On a beach. In a warehouse. In a penthouse apartment. On a train… a plane… in a car.

Think of each of your scenes as a scene in a movie. Your point of view (POV) character in your scene is your camera. Orient your readers, so that they know where they are, and with whom they’re there.

Please don’t stop the action to do this. Use sensory elements (see below) to establish your scenes.

2. Characters have goals

Every character in your scene has a goal. And a secret. We all want things, all the time. Your fictional characters ACT on their goals. Their actions lead to conflict with other characters.

3. Character goals lead to: action, conflict, suspense… DRAMA

It’s often easier to study scenes while watching a movie. There’s less chance you’ll get lost in the words. So watch a movie, with a pen and paper. Pause the action when a scene ends, and replay the scene. Analyze it.

Work out what the characters’ goals are in the scene.

4. Sensory elements: sight, sound, hearing, touch: your readers LIVE your scenes

Ground your scenes in reality. What does your POV character hear? What’s he touching? Provide sensory details, so that readers can live the scenes with your characters.

5. Emotion, via characters’ thoughts, to help readers to FEEL

Consider this sentence.

He told her: “You deserve to die.”

Dramatic? Not unless your POV character thinks, and reacts. Reveal your POV character’s thoughts when he hears the statement. If you can do that, your readers will live the scene with the character. They’ll  be there with him.

Fence in your scenes…

Unfortunately, it’s all too easy to dilute the effect of a scene, and wander off the point. Write down one, and at the most three, things you want a reader to experience in a scene.

This means:

  • NO flashbacks during a scene;
  • No extraneous characters (limit the characters in most scenes. Battle and crowd scenes are the exception. Maintain the POV’s character’s focus. What’s he seeing and doing? Feeling? Thinking?)
  • NO tangents. Maintain your POV character’s focus. Let’s say that your POV character has been kidnapped. He’s unlikely to think about a dinner party that’s coming up in three days. New authors go off on strange tangents in scenes all the time. DON’T. Be there with your character, thinking what he’s thinking, and feeling it.
  • NO head-hopping: one POV per scene. Many bestselling authors head-hop. (That is, they change their POV character in the course of a scene.) You can do it too, once you’re a bestseller. It’s all too easy to confuse readers, so don’t do it until you’re selling thousands of copies of your fiction every day.

Writing hot scenes will become second nature to you

Initially, you’ll feel as if there’s a lot to remember in scenes. Over time, you won’t need to think about the elements. Adding them becomes natural, and automatic.

Enjoy writing scenes. Hot scenes are the building blocks of bestselling fiction — they’re entertaining to write, as well as to read. Have fun. 🙂

Blurbs Sell Your Books: Craft Irresistible Blurbs, And Sell More Fiction And Nonfiction Today

Blurbs Sell Your Books: Craft Irresistible Blurbs, And Sell More Fiction And Nonfiction Today

eBook: $5.99

You can, when you discover the secrets of writing blurbs (book descriptions) which sell.

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Step By Step To Fiction Which Sells: Plotting And Scene Magic

Step By Step To Fiction Which Sells: Plotting And Scene Magic

eBook: $5.99

Your readers want to enter your novel's world. They want to experience your book -- they want to live your book with your main characters.

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Pricing Kindle Ebooks: Free, Cheap, or Expensive?

Pricing Kindle Ebooks: Free, Cheap, or Expensive?

You’re a self-publisher, and you’re concerned about pricing your Kindle ebooks. Over the past week, I’ve had many questions about pricing from our Sell Kindle Ebooks authors. (Thank you for making the program such a success, by the way. 🙂 We’re thrilled it’s helping you.)

Pricing is always contentious. Should you slavishly follow trends and fashions? What about KDP Select and Kindle Unlimited???

It’s impossible to offer a one-size-fits-all strategy for pricing your ebooks. There are too many variables, including:

  • YOU: what are your aims and goals? Where are you in your self-publishing ventures — do you have a catalogue, or are you publishing your first ebook? Are you selling only on Amazon, or are you selling elsewhere? (and on, and on…)
  • What’s the pricing like in your category or genre? What’s the most common price for self-publishers there?
  • Are you “training” a readership? That is, are you building a platform, and looking a year or two ahead?
  • Are you creating a funnel — writing a serial, or series, and plan to make the first ebook free at some stage?
  • Are you bundling?

Consider YOUR situation. It will be different from other authors. Make a list of what you want. (And please write the list, don’t try to keep it in your head.) It’s essential to assess where you are, because unless you know, you’ll have doubts, and will change your pricing at whim.

This brings us to our first tip…

1. Have a Reason for Your Price

I suggest you write down where you are, because you need to have a reason for your pricing. You need to be comfortable with it. Don’t bother explaining your reasons to others. As we’ve said, your situation is always unique. Find your reason, assess your comfort zone, and then…

2. Set the Price, and Change It Slowly (or Not at All)

Once you’ve set a price for your ebook, be wary of changing it for at least three months. Give the ebook a chance. If you want to change the price, make a list of the reasons, especially if you’re a new author, with a small catalogue.

My suggestion: in your first year of self-publishing, focus on your writing, and building your catalogue. Publish often. Avoid checking your stats. Check them once a week if you must. Be strong, and check them once a month.

3. Watch the Top Sellers in Your Category, and Price Accordingly

Check the top sellers in your category. Keep a spreadsheet of dates, titles, and pricing. See when the top sellers change their pricing: they may do it because they’re advertising a title somewhere. Check out the websites of the top sellers too. What else are they publishing? What’s their strategy?

Read widely, and spend time on Amazon, as well as the other ebook retailers. Over time, you’ll develop a feel for pricing your ebooks. Your audience will tell you what they want. You may publish an ebook at $2.99 and it goes nowhere. You decide to raise the price to $5.99 and increase your sales. Or you decide to offer a title free, and then increase the price on other titles in the series.

Stop Worrying About Pricing

Write the best books you can. Focus on your readers, always. Your pricing strategies will develop, in line with what your readers want. Read, write, and publish. Although it may not seem like it, pricing is a small issue in your overall ebook publishing program.


Need more? Check out our 15-minutes-a-day book marketing strategy.