How to Write Page-Turning Scenes

How To Write Page-Turning Scenes

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  • When you’re fighting to stay engaged with the story you’re writing…
  • When your scenes are losing your attention…
  • When you’re starting to think you need to just bury this story and start something new…
  • STOP!

“Take the Time to Learn How To Write Scenes That Will Save This Project…
So You Don’t Make The Same Mistakes
In The NEXT One!”

I already know I want this.

You want to keep your readers hanging on your every word, but every time you relax your vigilance, your characters start lounging around, talking about the weather, drinking coffee and leaning against walls.

Or perhaps you get fascinated by your own worldbuilding, and when you look up from writing, you discover what you’ve done is a twenty-page infodump (you know, the complete description of your main story setting, in which you present every piece of furniture in the room, its era, the fabric it’s covered in, and the history of the production of that fabric… And maybe even the name of the guy who made it…)

Or maybe your scenes race by so fast that when you read them back, you find the barest sketch of the picture you had in your head while you were writing.

Or just maybe you haven’t got the hang of doing scenes yet at all.

It’s okay.

Every one of us who writes for a living started with all of those problems and a host of others. And every single one of those problems is fixable.

EASILY fixable. Seriously.

This isn’t a gruelling ordeal, it isn’t hard to learn, it isn’t something where you’ll start out gnashing your teeth trying to understand difficult concepts or struggling over complex literary theories.

You can start getting the hang of this in just minutes. 

In this class…

  • You’ll write your way from the simplest of scenes to the most complex. You’ll start building with basic scene blocks, write short, compelling practice scenes… and learn to add complexity as you go.
  • You’ll learn how to avoid common pitfalls while finding the excitement and conflict in each scene.
  • You’ll learn to write just the important parts.
  • And you’ll have fun working through this.

Which Of These Essentials Are YOUR Scenes Missing?

The two critical parts EVERY scene must have? (Hint: The answer is conflict and change)(Page 13)

The FIVE types of conflict that will make writing your stories easier, and keep your readers hooked? (Page 14)

The short, simple story PLAN technique that will keep you from writing the wrong book? (page 16)

The TWO absolutes that apply to every form of conflict and every scene? (page 23)

The special scene technique that lets you grab your reader’s attention and totally mislead him WITHOUT cheating? (page 25)

The great conflict trick that lets your reader see something go wrong, and know it’s gone wrong, and makes him NEED to keep reading to find out why? (page 26)

Internal conflict that shows your reader your hero’s anguish—and that makes him empathize—WITHOUT resorting to a bad replay of Hamlet’s monologue? (page 28)

I need one of those…

28 types of conflict between your characters that AREN’T arguing? (page 33)

Conflict between characters on the same side of your issue? (page 35)

The ONE kind of conflict that can provide your entire story and everyone in it with a reason to go on? (page 37)

The way to know which are good scenes and which are bad scenes BEFORE you write them? This is a neat form of index-card story-testing that, once I invented it, saved me from making huge mistakes in recent books. (page 43)

An answer to the problem of TOO MANY ideas. (page 58)

The easiest way to spread out the good stuff over an entire book, and not show your whole hand in just one scene. (page 60)

A step-by-step method for getting your hero OUT of the corner you got him stuck in? (page 64)

Definitely one or two of those…

Straightforward directions on how to dump your boring scenes while identifying and saving what matters in them? (page 71)

TWO simple, fun, easy ways to write in “breathers” for your readers that DON’T include letting them put the book down? (page 75)

Five ways to write scenes that suck readers in even when your story is NOT about life-or-death issues? (page 81)

TWO types of great transitions that will spice up your pages and let you leap all of time and space (or as much of it as you need to) in two sentences? Just two? (page 86)

The SIMPLE way to use flashbacks, flashforwards, dream sequences, and other scenes that jump your story through time? (page 91)

THE FOUR SECRETS to when and how you’ll use step-by-step action to make your scene gripping, urgent, and must-read…and when you must NEVER use step-by-step action? (page 92)

The FIVE STEPS to misdirecting most of your readers most of the time? (Though Abraham Lincoln was right. You CAN’T fool all of the people all the time, and you WILL get those readers who complain, “I figured it out on page five”. You want to keep that number down to a handful, though.) (page 95)

Just five steps?!…

The FOUR ways to choose the right viewpoint character for every scene? (page 98)

The HOW, WHEN, and WHY behind introducing and using secondary characters? (page 100)

SEVEN ways for getting real emotion from your head into the scene? (page 107

The dialogue technique that will save you (and your readers) from the dreaded Talking Heads Syndrome? (page 107)

Description that readers NEED, that creates OPPORTUNITIES for plot twists, and that keeps your story moving without EVER bogging it down? (page 109)

The FIVE senses—plus any others you can invent—used the right way, at the right time, and for the right reasons? (page 112)

And more…

I need more than one thing from the list above!

(All page numbers refer to the PDF version.)

How To Write Page-Turning Scenes Contains The Answers to Your Questions

And it includes a short essay with the hard, cold math behind why you NEED to write what you LOVE to write.

But don’t take my word for it.

Many thousands of students have now taken this course.

They’ve recommended it on,, and elsewhere.


“If your story is great but your scenes seem boring and dragging, this is the book to read. It is fun to read and easy to use. If you do the suggested exercises your story will improve so much you won’t believe it.

— Martina Sommer (from


“This is a fabulous book on the art of scene creation, and raising the stakes to make every scene conflicty and juicy. Holly takes a couple of chapters to give a working definition of a scene, and to define the different types of conflict (complete with exercises to practice the different types), before moving on to things like the art of storytelling through scenes, pacing, transitions and trouble-shooting for common problems. … Practical, easy to use, lots of exercises. I really like Holly’s non-fic work on writing, and her style resonates with me, so I usually find her books helpful…”

— Amy Laurens (from


“…I started writing my novel in 2006 and quite frankly suffered thru most of it. I had bought and read over a dozen different books on fiction writing. Some helped, most did not. It was not until the summer of 2012 that I ran across Holly’s website. She is exactly what I have been looking for in a writing coach. It is her style and knowledge that just resonates with me to such a degree that she took all of my FEAR away about what to do, when to do it and how long to keep it up. Her “How to write a series” is equally mind blowing for me as a new novelist. I highly recommend them and I will end up purchasing all of her works as I continue to build my craft….”

— Mark Stephen Oden (from


And here’s a quote from one of my pre-publication beta testers.


“You answered my questions, and even answered questions I hadn’t thought to ask. 🙂 This course really put a lot of things together for me. I could almost hear the ‘click’ in my head when it all snapped into place.

“I am blown away by how much that course showed me in just a few days. Whatever you plan to charge, it is worth more! I don’t mean that any specific thing you said was a surprise to me. Instead, it was the way you put it all together, and showed how to make it work. You covered points I already technically knew, and have been using, but showed me how to use them right.

“The only way I can describe it is that my mind feels like a tool whose edge had been dull and rounded, and the course acted like a sharpening stone and put a nice, keen edge on it so it can get right to work. Before I started the beta-test, I’d been looking over some old, unfinished novels, trying to decide how to fix them. I had some fumbling, not entirely bad ideas. Then, I sat down and ran through the course, and now I have much better ideas of how to whip them into shape. When I looked them over after I reviewed the course carefully, there was a noticeable difference in how easily I could spot problems and plan solutions.”

—Ray Beere Johnson II, writer and beta tester

I’m in!

When This Course Might NOT Be Right for You

I’ve designed this course to be simple and straightforward, a step-by-step walkthrough that takes you from never having written a scene (or never having written a scene that’s sold) to writing complex, multi-layered scenes that will engage all your reader’s senses and keep him glued to his seat and enchanted by your story.

I’ve skipped theory and fluff in favor of practical application.

I’ve created short, to-the-point exercises that will give you hands-on experience with every critical technique in the course.

I’ve used my own experience to present those facets of scene writing that I have found essential to getting and staying published through my many years of doing this full-time (I went full-time in 1992) and through my 30+ novels sold.

How to Write Page-Turning Scenes

You should not buy this course, though, if:

  • You’re looking for literary theory, not hands-on writing techniques.
    Theory is not what I have to offer. I learned how to write sellable novels by doing it; I didn’t go to college for it. I don’t USE theory. I just use what works. (My background for writing is my weird childhood, ten years as an RN, and living through some very hard times.)
  • You expect to improve your writing by reading about writing, instead of doing the actual work.
    It won’t happen. The only way to write good, salable words is to write a whole lot of bad, unmarketable ones first, and to learn by doing. If you’re hoping to learn to write scenes by osmosis, save your money.
  • You want a magic bullet to make your work sell.
    It took me seven years and more than a hundred rejections to make my first sale. After that, they came thick and fast, but the closest thing I have to offer you in the way of magic bullets is this advice. “Persist.”

If you’re willing to put in the work, though, I have given you the very best tools in my writing arsenal to get the job done.


You Can Do This!

Whether you’re a beginner or you’ve been toiling away at writing for years, you can begin:

  • Planning and writing better scenes,
  • Identifying problems with scenes you’ve written before,
  • And stringing scenes together into stories that will compel you to keep writing, and your readers to keep reading
  • …in the next five minutes.

    How to Write Page-Turning Scenes
    Single Payment
    A Step-By-Step Course in Keeping Your Readers Turning Pages Long Past Bedtime
    Single Payment, Permanent Classroom Access
    Learn how to plan and write BETTER scenes
    Identify and FIX problems in scenes you've already written
    Link your scenes together into stories that will keep you writing your story to the end...
    And that will keep your readers hooked on your stories...
    And keep them turning YOUR pages!
    Ebook in printable PDF format
    Downloadable, printable PDF worksheets
    Always-Available Classroom (retake this class alone or with other writers as often as you like)
    Forum discussions, brainstorming, and help

How To Write Page-Turning Scenes:
A Step-by-Step Class in Keeping Readers Turning YOUR Pages Long Past Bedtime

Writing novels is a great job—I’d call it the best job on the planet, but I’m biased because it’s my job. Still, if someone can love her work after doing it for more than a third of century of doing it, you have to think there must be something special about it.

If this is the job you want, I’m thrilled to do what I can to help you get it.

Holly signature
Holly Lisle
Novelist, Writing Course Creator

Course Information

Course Instructor

Holly_Think Holly_Think Author

Novelist. Writing-course creator.