Plot & Structure Part 6

What is a scene? 

A scene as it pertains to a novel is the smallest most basic unit of organizing your story. We use scenes to build our stories one unit at a time. 

A good scene is like a mini-arc in its own right; it has a beginning, middle, and end. A scene is meant to further the reader’s understanding of the broader context of the story, characters, mood, themes, and plot if your scene doesn’t do this either change it or cut it out. A scene can be written to react to other scenes, to anticipate a future scene or to adjust the pacing of the story.

The difference between the arc in a scene and the overall arc of your story is: questions raised in a scene do not necessarily need to be answered by the end of that scene. The questions can be answered in another scene and or another chapter. On the other hand, the main questions set at the beginning of the novel should be answered by the end of your book.

Scenes take place to build stories as well as advance the main plot. Thinking of your story in terms of scenes can help organize your ideas and write your story in a more manageable way.

Remember when you are setting the stage for your scene, don’t dilly dally. Establish which characters are in your scene, the time, location, be clear about the reason for this scene and make sure it is active and pushes the story forward. Avoid overwriting, stick with short sentences. Consider the flow of your story. It would be easier for your readers to follow along if you stick with a simple model of one idea per scene. Every sentence and paragraph works towards the single purpose of your scene. When one scene ends, and another begins, you can make the distinction via a line break, or you can transition with a few sentences that explain the shift.

Till next time, live your happiest life.

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