Julie Artz | author, editor, book coach, dragon

[Wyrd Words Weekly] What the periodic table can teach you about writing

Published 4 months ago • 1 min read

Hello Reader,

Scene is the smallest unit of story, the atom in Story's Periodic Table. And yet it can be difficult to identify what a scene is and how it functions in our stories. A scene:

  • Is a finite, relatively short moment in time...
  • Takes place in one concrete location/setting...
  • Has a beginning, middle, and end...
  • Contains a MOMENT OF CHANGE that moves the story forward by advancing the plot, character, or world-building (or all three!).

Just like your larger story, your scenes have a structure--a goal, obstacles, and an outcome--that provide the scaffolding upon which you tell the story with character, world-building, and plot.

Do you know how to make your scenes work for you and your story? Many writers don't. But don't worry, I've got you covered!

In my decade as book coach and story geek, I've developed a simple, yet powerful, approach to scenes that will help you shore up your story logic, increase pacing and stakes, and show your characters' journeys in a way that will keep readers turning pages.

And on February 13, you can learn that approach for FREE as part of ProWritingAid's Romance Writers' Week, February 12-16. The lineup is fantastic, featuring some of my very favorite colleagues. Sign up today:

If you're writing romance, or if you're just looking for a quick, easy, free way to get a little inspiration in the new year, I hope I'll see you there!

What I'm Reading

If you're anything like me, you've got a to be read pile that you're never going to conquer. For me, that often means I'm focused on reading books that have come out in the last 1-2 seasons. It's an important part of keeping my market knowledge current, but it also means that I sometimes miss a truly great book. That's why I'm so thrilled that Rebecca Makkai's 2023 release, I Have Some Questions For You, wasn't available at the library last week, but her 2018, The Great Believers, was. Because my goodness, it was a powerful, poignant, glorious read. An exploration of the power of platonic love, a heart-wrenching deep dive into the mid-80s AIDS epidemic, a meditation on motherhood, this book was amazing. If you, too, missed it when it came out in 2018, give it a read or a listen.



PS - Last call for Round Seven of CP Meet Cute. I'll be making critique partner matches NEXT WEEK! Sign up by February 7 at to get all the details.

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Julie Artz | author, editor, book coach, dragon

Julie Artz helps writers who dream of a life spent telling stories that matter slay their doubt demons so they can send their work out into the world with confidence. An active member of the writing community, she has volunteered for SCBWI, TeenPit, and Pitch Wars and is a member of EFA, the Authors Guild, and AWP. A social and environmental justice minded story geek, Julie lives in an enchanted forest outside of Seattle, Washington, with her husband, two strong-willed teenagers, and a couple of naughty furry familiars. Check out her weekly newsletter, Wyrd Words Weekly, and subscribe today.

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