Short Story Secret III:
What Every Scene In Your Story Must Do
Scenes are the essence of a short story. They organize your plot, like a map or blue prints. They present your story to the reader in a vivid, unfolding fashion. Each scene builds upon the other, building suspense which pulls the reader along. They draw the reader deeper and deeper into your story toward the promised, and delivered, climatic/dramatic scene at the end.
Scene creation and how many scenes you’ll need to tell the story, both depend on the story you want to tell and on the length of the tale. The pacing of scenes depends on the type of story you are writing and the amount of tension you are trying to build within the piece.
There are innumerable How-To books on short story and fiction writing that offer more details on scene structure and how to write compelling scenes, but if you’re like most writers, you have the itch to write right now. Like most of us you can only spare a few moments to brush up on writing tips, hoping to surf the web to find one that will help you tweak your story enough to snag a sale and a publishing credit. You want some advice now.
While I don’t have any How-To Write Scenes advice of my own to offer you, I do have something for you to measure your own writing against.
It’s a test. Just a little one.
It’s a little tidbit that may help boost your confidence a little. It may also damped your spirits ~ if you story fails to measure up. But if your scene does fail this simple test, at least you’ll know where your story needs tweaking before you attempt to send it out to markets.
I call it:
Does Your Story Pass the Scene Test?
(Every scene within your short story MUST have these 5 elements or it fails to be dramatic)
1. A Meeting ~ Two main forces of your story must be
involved in conflict. Your hero and villain must clash.
There must be emotion.
2. A Purpose ~ Each scene must have a purpose for
being included in the story. They must have something
important to convey to the reader.
3. The Encounter ~ must do these 2 things:
a. Attempt to seek information or give
b. To Overcome the other by logic, argument,
persuasion, or brute force.
4. Final Action ~ The action within the scene should result
in someone Winning, Losing or Quitting.
5. The Aftermath ~ The state of mind of the characters or
the state of affairs of the story should lead to the next
scene or end the story by resolving the story problem.