Writing a Scene

Scenes are the building blocks your story is made of. A scene is a unit of action and each scene needs action to be successful. Let’s explore what else goes into making a scene.

Every scene must have a goal or something the main character is trying to accomplish. No desire in the character, no story. And each scene should have a goal for you as a writer, whether it’s to further the plot, introduce a key character or plot point, or show a change in a developing relationship between your characters. Knowing your goals will help you write each scene and make them stronger.

Each scene must have something happen to push the story forward. Each scene must consist of an action, a reaction, or a mixture of both to be successful. Determine what happens in each scene and what conflict is caused by the events of each scene. How does your protagonist deal with this conflict?

So how do we get started with each scene? First ask yourself what happens in the scene and what your main character’s goal is. Then ask yourself what would happen if you took out this scene. Is it really crucial to your plot? Next, figure out exactly who are in this scene and who needs to be. Then ask where does this scene take place? How does the setting impact the mood and emotion of the scene? Determine when this scene takes place, linearly or as a flashback. Figure out if this is a long scene or a short scene and brainstorm how the scene begins and ends. Now write your first sentence. This may change while you’re writing but give yourself a strong starting point. Write a quick version of the scene. Then write the full version of the scene. Repeat.

Start with a goal, both for your character and for yourself as a writer and each scene will be stronger and easier to sit down and write. Strong scenes make for a strong story. Do you have any tips when it comes to writing scenes? Anything you struggle with personally? Comment below and happy writing always.

Julia

Follow me on Twitter @hijinkswriter and on Our Write Side for my weekly column.

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