Exhale scene: How to write engaging, suspenseful scenes like Dean Koontz
The exhale scene follows the inhale scene. Typically, the exhale scene is shorter than the inhale scene, but if you are writing a romance novel, then the exhale scenes will be around the same length as the inhale scenes.
Here are the parts to the exhale scene, and they don't have to happen in this order.
1. Establish your character's emotional state, which is the result of the actions in the previous inhale scene.
2. The character gets control over her emotions and decides what to do next. If needed, have the characters review recent events.
3. The character analyzes facts to figure out what she can do next.
4. She formulates a plan and dedicates herself to it.
5. She acts in a way that sets up the next inhale scene.
For an example, I will continue where I left off in the inhale scene. I left off with Sandy failing to reach her minor goal, which was to find her hairbrush. Her boyfriend is going to show up in five minutes.
1. First, I would establish her emotional state. She is freaking out. I would write a lot of introspection in this scene. 2. Then she works out her emotional freak out and decides that she will need to do something else with her hair. 3. Sandy looks at her options. 4. She can brush her hair using her mother's brush, which will leave it frizzy. Oh well. She does that, then she puts a lot of leave-in conditioner, and then she puts it back in a ponytail. That will have to do. 5. After finishing with her hair, she goes outside to wait for her boyfriend because she doesn't want to let him in the house, where her family will most likely embarrass her.
This sets up the next inhale scene. Her new goal is to meet her boyfriend and get in the car quickly so that he doesn't have the chance to meet her family. A new problem presents itself, though. Her ex-boyfriend stops by, and she needs to get rid of him before the new guy shows up. Du dun. Du dun.
You continue to cycle through inhale and exhale scenes. Sometimes you will want to skip the exhale scene all together. Or sum it up in a short paragraph or sentence.
You could end the chapter when the MC reaches or fails to reach her ultimate goal. You might want to end the chapter with a cliffhanger as well. So in this case, the chapter ends when the date ends, and oh boy does it get crazy.
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