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WRITING A SCENE

Banes at 12:00AM, Aug. 13, 2015
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Here are some thoughts on writing that smallest unit of a story: the scene.


First off, what is a scene? What defines it?

It's Change.

Something changes between the beginning and end of a scene.

Here's a way to write one if you're stuck. These are the things to figure out that go on BENEATH the dialogue:

First, you have to know where you're at in your story. Who is your character and what do they want, in terms of the entire narrative? Where does this scene fit into that larger narrative?

Then, figure out what they want in this particular scene, and how they're going to go about getting it.

Finally, figure out what's in the way of achieving what they want. (conflict! Making things more difficult for our characters is what drives a story forward and makes us want to root for them!).



If the readers can anticipate the conflict in some way, that can help. If your detective is going in to question someone, maybe we can get a look at how busy/grumpy/difficult that other person might be. Or maybe we know the protagonist has to LIE about something, and we're anticipating whether they're going to be found out. Maybe the protagonist's goal is to close the window, and only the AUDIENCE knows there's a killer hiding outside. That's still conflict!

When the obstacle is overcome, or not, the scene is over.

I'll talk about dialogue and editing a scene next time.

Have a good Thursday!

-Banes









comment

anonymous?

Banes at 11:49AM, Aug. 14, 2015

Thanks Stellar! There's a fascinating thread about climaxes in the forum if you haven't seen it yet.

Stellar at 12:05AM, Aug. 14, 2015

Change is a very simple way to sum up scenes. It has to be change important to the story, be it a scene to introduce new characters, or a scene to portray a try-fail cycle. I think the most important part of this is "When the obstacle is overcome, OR NOT, the scene is over." Characters failing after gaining some insight or special training can engross the reader and make them more invested in the story. As long as the protagonists failures are believable =p We've all seen perfect characters absolve themselves of their problems by never failing, and then characters that are otherwise competent fail something in their control because of a flimsy plot. Great topic Banes =D

Banes at 7:19PM, Aug. 13, 2015

I heard you were always makin' the scene, you groovy cat!

Gunwallace at 4:56PM, Aug. 13, 2015

I made a scene once. I still have the restraining order.

Banes at 11:36AM, Aug. 13, 2015

Yeah that's true - having a sense of the whole story is important so it all hangs together!

KimLuster at 6:55AM, Aug. 13, 2015

Good points all... A story really is a series of scenes, and while you do have to keep in mind all the scenes so they don't contradict and create an incoherent story, you really should first be able to make a single scene have impact!


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