The scene’s most important job: On with the story

After you finish the preliminary work for your story—logline, outline, character backgrounds, research—you are ready to begin writing the story.  You build scene by scene.

For each scene:

  • A beginning, middle and end.
  • A goal for the point-of-view character.
  • At least one conflict.
  • Emotional development.
  • Emotional change.

The reason each scene has these elements is to involve the reader/audience not only in the scene but in the entire story. The story is what carries them to the end.

So, the most important job of the scene, because it is an element of story building, is to lead the reader/audience on into the story. To make the reader want to turn the page and keep going.  To bring the audience to attention emotionally and want the members of the audience to want the next scene to happen.  Basically, the question at the end of each scene will be What will happen next?

The scene’s most important function is to make the reader/audience want to know what happens next—to continue the story.  That is why all the elements are important.

  • The three-part structure leads on
  • The goal challenges the audience to wonder how it will be achieved or how it will be thwarted.
  • The conflict deepens reader/audience tension and emotional involvement.
  • Character emotional change develops empathy.

Next time you review your scenes make certain that each one leads to questions that make the reader/audience want to continue.

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