“For me, what’s important is that looking at scenes, focusing in on them, helps me understand the complex structure of a novel.”
Brian is the author of five published YA novels and over a dozen short stories for adults. His last three novels were published by Candlewick Press (Utopia, Iowa, 2015; Homicidal Aliens and Other Disappointments, 2013; Alien Invasion and Other Inconveniences, 2010.) His stories have been published in Literal Latte, The Crescent Review and other literary magazines. He teaches writing at Austin Community College.
Brian is teaching a class for the Writers’ League called “Building a Novel Out of Scenes” on Saturday, March 26, 2016 at ACC Highland Campus. Read the interview below and visit the class page to learn more.
Brian Yansky: First grade—everyone was doing it. I went along. A less smart-ass answer—I loved stories and because I loved reading and watching stories, I wanted to write them, too.
Scribe: How would you define a “scene”?
BY: It’s a unit of action and often reaction. There’s some kind of conflict and goal (of character and writer) and change that drives the reader into the next scene.
Scribe: As a writer, how did you realize the importance of structuring a narrative as a series of related scenes?
BY: Many writers have written about scene. There are lots of different ideas about how they work and their importance. So, I’ve read about them and thought about them. For me, what’s important is that looking at scenes, focusing in on them, helps me understand the complex structure of a novel. That makes doing all the other things a writer has to do—use language, create complex characters, etc.—easier.
Scribe: Without giving too much away, what is one effective way of linking different scenes?
BY: Make one scene end with a question that the next scene will answer.
Scribe: What is one type of scene that you struggle with?
BY: What’s a type I don’t? I’m always struggling. I suppose an action scene. All that movement. Things get out of order and become confusing sometimes. Fortunately, we have revision.
Click here to register for Brian’s class.
Click here for our current class schedule.