REVIEW: “Setting the Scene” by Nancy Kress

Review of Nancy Kress, “Setting the Scene”, in Tod McCoy and M. Huw Evans, eds., Pocket Workshop: Essays on Living as a Writer (Hydra House Clarion West Writers Workshop, 2021): 23-28 — Purchase here. Reviewed by Sara L. Uckelman. (Read the review of the anthology.)

I found this piece particularly useful, as I have only the vaguest idea of what counts as a “scene” in a piece of fiction. I’m not sure I could give you a complete answer even after reading the piece, but I certainly feel like I have a better idea of what gets to count as a “scene” and how scenes can (or should) be linked. And I really liked the “Kress Swimming Pool Theory of Fiction”: You don’t have to dive straight into the deep end, drowning your reader in world building and info-dumping, instead, you can push off from the side of the pool with some interesting action that will carry you far enough to glide “with a section of exposition without losing the reader interest” (p. 25).