Start Late, End Early
Scenes are the building blocks of your story. The purpose of each scene is to move the reader along in the story. You can help your reader experience immediacy by plunging them headlong into your story.
Begin At the Latest Possible Moment
Begin your scene with action. Plunge your reader into the moment. The action can be dialogue, and be half-way through a conversation. You don't need to start with Hello. Get to the essence of the conversation.
Once your reader is into the action, you can write a brief paragraph describing the place where the action happens to ground the reader in the setting. Keep this paragraph brief and then continue on with the action.
Readers are smart. They will catch up with you. The key is to get your reader involved as quickly as you can.
One of the best ways to get your reader to turn the page and keep reading is to end your scene early. Don't answer questions. Leave the reader hanging. If your protagonist is in a fight and just won or lost, stop. Get them to turn the page to discover what happens next.
Use Scenes as Building Blocks
Whatever story structure you use, whether it is Aristotle's three acts or a more modern beat sheet, scenes are the power drivers of your story. Your reader is here now. Keep them turning the pages with immediacy and tension. Start with instant action, not long description. End by leaving a question unanswered. Your readers may not know what drives them forward, but you will.
If you are looking for guidance or want a coach for your story get in touch firstname.lastname@example.org
A Setting in Time
At the time of Argolicus Rome was neither the capital city of Italy nor the center of the Roman Empire. King Theoderic, ruled Italy from the north of Italy in Ravenna and the Roman Empire was centered in Constantinople.
In The Roman Heir Argolicus and Nikolaos leave Rome to begin his retirement in southern Italy. As he leaves, Boethius ask Argolicus to deliver a gift to a young Roman in Ostia. Once the major port for good coming to Rome, at the time of the story Ostia is mainly a country seaside retreat for Romans. The great port is silting and reedy marshlands have replaced much of the port.
Archaeological excavations give us a hint of what the city was like in its prime.
But imagination and a review of geography give us a better feel of Ostia at the time of Argolicus.
When Argolicus arrives to deliver the gift, he finds that the youth, Philo, discovered the body of his murdered father just hours ago. The paterfamilias was a shipping magnate with a large house in Ostia, but his wealth comes from across the river Tiber at the major shipping port called Portus.
Portus the Seat of Commerce
The man made port fed by a canal built by Trajan, still serves the shipping needs for Rome and the surrounding area of Italy when Argolicus arrives. In the north, the port of Classe, just several kilometers from Ravenna, serves the King’s city. But major supplies for the rest of Italy still came through Portus.
The port was an architectural and engineering feat designed is an octagon. The flat sides maximized space for ships to dock and goods to be loaded and unloaded. Huge storage warehouses kept the goods for distribution throughout Italy.
Ostia and Portus are the backdrop for this mystery of a savage murder where emotions run deep behind the trappings of wealth.
If you want to discover more about the Argolicus mysteries become an Argolicus Fan. You’ll get Inside stories and publication notices and invitations to become a beta reader.
Zara Altair, Author
The puzzle of politics, the mystery of murder in ancient Italy. After Rome, before the Middle Ages, Italy belonged to the Ostrogoths.