August 14, 2020

First Scene Needs 3 Things

Susan Reichert

Writing a first paragraph in a book we all know is important. Writing the first scene is critical.

The first thing you need to introduce your protagonist to your reader because you want them to know who your main character is so they will pay attention throughout the book to this person. Readers need to know who the protagonist is so they can root for him/her.

The second thing you is start the first scene with your protagonist already in the middle of a situation/conflict that is wrapped with tension and reveals the characters personality, fears, things the reader needs to know about the protagonist. This is where the situation/conflict kicks off the scene. Think of it as making your protagonist feel uncomfortable and remember you can take that to different levels of uncomfortable.

The third thing is what the protagonist goal/need is. The reader needs to know what the protagonist is working toward achieving even if it is only a hint.

C. S. Lakin said, “Each scene in your novel should be moving the plot forward. Each scene should reveal some new information, but not just anything—the information needs to help move the plot forward. The bottom line? Every scene must have a point to it.” For more information visit

Also you might want to check out Now Novel where they talk about how to write a scene: purpose and structure.

It is important to understand how to craft scenes. The better the scene the better the story. K. M. Weiland said, “Once you understand how to craft your scenes into a row of dominoes–each one knocking into the next—you’ll never write an extraneous scene again. Even better? You’ll be able to craft each moment in your story to tap its maximum potential in the plot and gain the most powerful reaction possible from your readers.” For more information visit

Happy Writing! 

Susan Reichert , author of God's Prayer Power and Storms in Life. Past Editor-in-Chief of Southern Writers Magazine.
Current President of Southern Author Services, editor of Suite T and Gallery of Stars.

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