Writers’ Group: Scenes

6 Sep

It’s finally time for the long-awaited follow-up to last week’s post about my writers’ group meeting. OK, maybe I was the only one anticipating it. A girl can dream.

The last person to present at our meeting talked about scenes. I loved that this came after the discussion of chapters because it helped me understand the difference between the two. There can be multiple scenes in one chapter or a scene can span several chapters. The two do not have to be linked in any way.

A scene requires three things that advance the plot: a goal, a conflict, and a resolution. Sometimes the resolution is a disaster but it should still advance the plot. A scene is followed by a sequel. These are always done together and shouldn’t be split. This involves a reaction (usually emotional), a dilemma, and a decision.

So, here’s an example that happened to me before writing this. My husband is on his way to work (goal) and realizes he doesn’t have his name tag (conflict). He calls me and we realize it’s still on his dirty work shirt from yesterday (resolution). He’s frustrated (reaction) but knows that his boss will be more upset if he’s late (dilemma) so decides to forgo the name tag and be on time for work (decision). Simple but real. You can see how it would work out in a novel. One writer recommended highlighting all of these points in different colors if a scene feels like it’s missing something. Also, she recommended putting the dilemma and reaction right next to each other. They can be odd when spaced out.

The decision should bring bout the next goal. In my example, I’m dropping off his name tag before heading to a friend’s house (goal) at which point I have to decide if I’ll have a drink from the bar before leaving (conflict). TBD how this will resolve!

Much less frequently used are incidents and happenings. Incidents are when a character attempts a goal and accomplishes it with no resistance. This doesn’t make for very good reading but can advance a complicated plot. If my husband had found a spare name tag in his car, his problem would have been solved. A happening is when people are brought together or something for a later time is set up. A scene last week of him having another name tag made wouldn’t have had an immediate effect on his life then than but would have built well to today’s scene.

Quick reactions can help keep pacing fast. There are several different kinds of reactions. All or one of these can be included but they need to be done in this order if more than one is included.

  1. Visceral
  2. Physical/involuntary
  3. Voluntary

If you think about it, any other order wouldn’t make sense. I’d never considered this before but now I keep thinking about it every time I do anything!

Thank you to everyone who stuck with this through the prolonged name tag example! I think I’ll have that drink after all.

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on Goodreads, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

5 Responses to “Writers’ Group: Scenes”

  1. Rae Longest September 6, 2018 at 5:33 PM #

    LOVED the name tag example. Very clear. You’ve earned the drink, Hon. Cheers!

    Like

    • Sam September 6, 2018 at 8:07 PM #

      Thank you! I’m so glad it was helpful. Happy writing!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. siderealday September 8, 2018 at 5:57 PM #

    Sounds like the group is still doing good work! I’m sorry I’ll be missing the meetings for the foreseeable future, but my new job has me on the late shift. At least you’re kind enough to sum things up! I appreciate that.

    Like

    • Sam September 8, 2018 at 6:45 PM #

      I’m glad you can still learn what we learn! Good luck with the new job. Happy writing!

      Like

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Top posts I enjoyed this October – The Roaring Bookworm - October 1, 2018

    […] gem from Sam @ Taking on a World of Worlds is a really interesting read on how to construct scenes when you’re writing a book […]

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