Are you writing a screenplay? Noo! Are you writing a play? Noo! You’re writing a NOVEL! Why should you have scenes?



True story telling follows a pattern of rising and falling, positive vs. negative. Your readers have come to expect properly crafted stories in film and television. The written word should be no exception.

Every scene must turn. Look at what your last scene was about. Did it end in despair? Okay. It was negative. The emotion of the scene was despair. Now your next scene should end on a positive note, and its emotional tone should end with something that’s the opposite of despair. Courage, hope, victory.  A truly engaging story swings between “will they make it? Won’t they?” until the very end. Watch your battle of good vs. evil. (Good being your character’s desire, evil being failure) Are we on the edge of our seats, never sure? Flip us back and forth, just encouraged enough to not give up, but battered enough to not let go of the pages.

Positive to negative. Negative to positive. Every scene.

Scenes can only turn by action or revelation.

How then, do we make the scene change? What turns it on its head from negative to positive? Only an action or a revelation.

Luke I am your father. A revelation. Instantly changes Luke’s view of the fight, making this infinitely harder than it already was.

Dory speaks whale. An action. The action results in a whale swallowing them.

Throughout the scene, your characters will try several different actions. This can mean taking physical action (all the different ways they might try to scale a building) until one really works and they gain their scene-desire, (scaling the building) or don’t gain it. (falling and breaking their leg)

Or, “action” can refer to dialogue.

Your characters can plead, storm, seduce, and guilt-trip all with their words. They’ll try multiple “actions” to get what they want during the scene. All through dialogue. One of those actions (perhaps pleading) will finally get a result. Their actions changed the scene. Remember, both characters are using actions. Not just your protagonist. Your antagonist may win the verbal fight, making the end value negative.


2 thoughts on “Scene

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s