Tuesday, August 19, 2008
Reasons for a Scene & Building up Scenes
Author Margaret Daley gave me great advice years ago when she said that she tries to have at least three reasons for a scene being in a book. If not, she either builds it up, or cuts it.
Today, I am sharing a list of reasons I have compiled for scenes being in a romance. If you write a different genre, I'd like to broaden the article. So, if you see some reasons missing...by all means...post 'em in the comment section! :-)
This will help you if you've ever received contest comments suggesting the judge didn't understand the reason for a scene. Or suggestions to build up a scene.
Every scene should move the plot forward and deepen characterization in some manner. And, every scene should have tension in it. Your opening scene should ALWAYS hook readers. Then write every scene as punchy as your first.
In every scene, ask yourself, "What is the point of this scene?"
Reasons for a scene (this is not all inclusive):
Introduce external conflict.
Reveals characters' internal conflict.
Intro characters' story goal
Alter characters' goal.
Intro characters' motivation.
Intro relational conflict in romance.
Ramps tension (every scene should do this)
Forwards plot (every scene should do this)
Ups the stakes.
Throws a wrench in characters' plans.
Shows the growing romance.
Reveals character's epiphany.
Introduces important secondary characters.
Reveals story crux.
To show characters strengths, integrity despite weakness
To endear character to readers.
To foreshadow upcoming conflict.
To bring in more conflict.
Introduce clues (if mystery).
To deliberately mislead the reader (fairly, of course)
Emotional punch ( to maybe change the reader's opinion of a character.
To make reader feel empathy or sympathy for or understand a character's reaction
To pace up or slow down the plot speed
Sequel to show character's response to conflict etc.
To give plot information to readers
To anchor readers in setting, time period, etc.
New story or character revelation
To add conflict
To develop or deepen characterization
Set up for a sequel (as in a second book not a scene sequel)
Take the protagonist further away or closer to their goal.
Moves the story forward, forward momentum
Advances the plot
Deepens sensory so reader experiences story
Displays theme or takeaway
Show romantic or sexual tension between hero and heroine in romance
Introduce plot twist
To evoke reader emotion or sympathy
To hint at upcoming conflict or impending doom
To bring in more conflict
Show important plot info
Tie up loose ends
Forgive me if I've repeated myself...I'm literally on drugs at the moment of posting this following surgery.
I KNOW THERE ARE MORE...so shoot me YOUR reasons for a scene being there. Stuff I haven't listed.