Don’t start a scene without these four essential elements

Nathan Bransford, TVWriter™’s favorite publishing know-it-all, gives us advice that most writers for all media and genres desperately need. This time around he talks about the importance of properly setting your scene

by Nathan Bransford

Writers often don’t pay quite enough attention to how they start their chapters.

Starting a new chapter is kind of like starting a new mini-novel. Some time has likely elapsed since the end of the previous chapter, and we might also be shifting to a new physical location. We’re starting somewhat fresh, and it’s useful to help the reader get their bearings.

But even aside from just establishing where we are with good physical description and how much time has elapsed, there are four magic elements that are incredibly useful to deploy at the start of every chapter to help orient the reader within the story.

If you make sure these four elements are present at the start of every chapter you almost can’t help but write a good one.

The protagonist’s mindset

Don’t just start a chapter and send a character on their way. Help us understand what’s on their mind and where their head is at.

What mood are they in? How were they left feeling after the last chapter?

The protagonist’s mood will help contextualize the rest of the scene and provide fuel for what motivates them next.

There are two main ways to show a protagonist’s mindset….

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