40 Days of Worksheets – Day 20

cropped-ramonagravitar.jpgWorksheet #20 – Strong Scenes

A novel is made up of a succession of scenes. Each scene is an increment of the full story. Each scene has a beginning, middle, and end. Each scene has a goal. Every scene must be related, directly or indirectly, to the Story Question. Every scene should lead to a next scene.

 For every scene, ask the 5 Ws and 1 H:

  • WHO is in the scene?
  • WHAT is happening?
  • WHEN does it take place?
  • WHERE does it occur?
  • WHY is it important to the story?
  • HOW does it lead to the next scene? 


Scene Writing Check-list

  1.  What goal/problem is the focus of this scene?
  2.  How is it tied to the Story Question?
  3. What type of scene is it?
  4. Is there a clear POV character?
  5. Is it a logical progression from the prior scene?
  6. Is there a smooth transition from the prior scene?
  7. Why does it happen in this place (setting)?
  8. Is the setting active (sights, sounds, smells)?
  9. Does the setting match the tone, mood, ambiance?
  10. What is the role of each participant?
  11. What happens, in action?
  12. Is there external conflict?
  13. Do you show internal conflict?
  14. Does it start immediately, without warm-up?
  15. Are entrances and exits well-choreographed?
  16. Is it written actively (show, not tell)?
  17. Is there a minimum of backstory?
  18. Is there a balance of action, dialogue, exposition?
  19. Does it have a beginning, middle, and end?
  20. What new information is revealed?
  21. What is learned through subtext?
  22. Is the scene goal met?
  23. Does it cause a complication, twist, or resolution?
  24. How will this scene lead to the next, or a later, scene?
  25. If this scene was cut, would the story fall apart?

Please note: All worksheets posted are my original work and intellectual property. I ask that you share the links on social media, and you are welcome to share the worksheets with your critique groups and writing friends with credit given. That being said, these worksheets—despite being posted on the Internet—may not be copied, distributed, or published as anyone’s work but mine. In short: sharing is good, plagiarism is bad.

Disclaimer #2: You may post your completed worksheet if you’d like, but please remember that, by doing so, you are sharing your ideas with all of the Internet. You’ve been warned.


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