Worksheet #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
- What goal/problem is the focus of this scene?
- How is it tied to the Story Question?
- What type of scene is it?
- Is there a clear POV character?
- Is it a logical progression from the prior scene?
- Is there a smooth transition from the prior scene?
- Why does it happen in this place (setting)?
- Is the setting active (sights, sounds, smells)?
- Does the setting match the tone, mood, ambiance?
- What is the role of each participant?
- What happens, in action?
- Is there external conflict?
- Do you show internal conflict?
- Does it start immediately, without warm-up?
- Are entrances and exits well-choreographed?
- Is it written actively (show, not tell)?
- Is there a minimum of backstory?
- Is there a balance of action, dialogue, exposition?
- Does it have a beginning, middle, and end?
- What new information is revealed?
- What is learned through subtext?
- Is the scene goal met?
- Does it cause a complication, twist, or resolution?
- How will this scene lead to the next, or a later, scene?
- If this scene was cut, would the story fall apart?
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