Wednesday, April 9, 2014

H is for a Hot Spots

'A good story is life, with the dull parts taken out.' 
Alfred Hitchcock

What's a hot spot?

The hot spot is the climax of the story, the most exciting part, the crescendo. 

Good writers like to create tension, either something bad is going to happen or the characters are worrying about something. Alas, sometimes our writing can fall flat. When you are worried there is nothing going on you may have missed the 'hot spot' or tension in the scene. 

Raymond Obstfeld, in Novelist's Essential Guide to Crafting Scenes recommends that if your scene doesn't have a hot spot cut it! 

My edit list for 'hot spots.'

I follow Obstfeld advice and circle the hot spot in my writing. And then...

1. Read the paragraph preceding the hot spot. Is it absolutely necessary?
2. Are all the sentences needed?
3. Are there any unnecessary words?
4. Is there anything distracting the reader away from the action?
5. Are there any really long sentences, 'ly' words?
6. Read it aloud, savour it.

Hopefully, these tips will help create a tension hot spot worthy of Hitchcock!


  1. Lovely advice. I generally follow this when I write fiction on my blog. I find that it helps to write at a stretch and then sit back and edit it after a while. The new perspective helps to weed out unnecessary words. Glad I found you through A-Z!

    Introspection in Shades of 11

    A to Z Challenge, 2014/ UBC, April 2014

  2. Could do with some of your advice.There is so much to learn yet.Thank you for visiting my blog :)

  3. I love the quote from Alfred Hitchcock. So true! When I get bogged down in one of my family tales I soon realise I've included too many of the boring bits.

    "... if your scene doesn't have a hot spot cut it! " I shall be thinking about that, and all your other tips. Thank you!

  4. Thank you for the great tips! Looking forward to learning a lot here. :0)

  5. Really useful, thanks,
    Sophie's Thoughts & Fumbles - A to Z Ghosts
    Fantasy Boys XXX - A to Z Drabblerotic

  6. This kind of post is helpful for us fledgling bloggers who look to more experienced writers for inspiration and knowledge that comes from having done the hard yards. Thank you, I'll be back. :)

  7. i will keep this in mind next tym i write fiction on my blog :)

  8. Ahh, we're discussing Hitchcock, you have my attention! Solid words of advice, and yes, Hitchcock only chose the best.

    A to Z Blogging http:/

  9. Great info here. I really believe in reading my words out loud. It gives me a better perspective on the word structure and rhythm. Thanks for stopping by my blog!

  10. Good tips to use in the revision process. Thanks for the reminder.

  11. I've never heard of hot spots, but I'll give that a try!

  12. Great blog you have Charlotte, and I enjoyed this post. Hot spots .. nice, will pop by again for more useful tips -excited to see what you have up your sleeve for this competition:-)

  13. Thank you for sharing some amazing tips does help newbie bloggers and writers :)