Time to Write Now By Julaina Kleist-Corwin

About Writing Plus

What's in the Background of your Scenes?

Jordan E. Rosenfeld’s book, MAKE A SCENE, offers many writing tips. I particularly liked her paragraphs about Foreground and Background. She says that like paintings, scenes can have backgrounds, but she meant more than setting. Plant “subtle messages and emotional layers in the background through actions” while the reader’s attention is on what’s happening in the foreground.

Rosenfeld gives the example of a couple making love in the foreground scene while in a room down the hall  or upstairs, another couple has a loud argument. That background can foreshadow the loving couple’s future, or the fight downstairs could add humor to the love scene, or the fight could escalate into a gun shot, involving the couple in a mystery.

Caution: the background must have a purpose to push the plot forward or to show character reaction to the subtext action.

“Each scene is a multidimensional creation.” Enrich subtext to deepen and add complications to the story.


  1. Excellent reminder that a scene is made up of many important components.

  2. Hi Sheri,

    It’s fun to open a writing book and find a tip that I had forgotten about. Now I want to go back to Hada and do some background in some scenes. Revision never ends!

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