Scene and Sequel

ideaWhat every scene needs

FromJackBickham’s SCENE & STRUCTURE, (Writers Digest Books 1993.  I highly recommend this book.

Bickham was a highly respected and brilliant author and speaker. He died unexpectedly a few years ago.

Every scene must have a Scene Goal.

  • Should relate to the overallStoryGoal.
  • Must be immediate and concrete.
  • Should be stated at the beginning of the scene.
  • E.g. Story goal: Stella wants to win a contest prize so she’ll have enough money to go to training school. Scene Goal: swim up a waterfall gorge in one race.

Every scene must have Conflict.

  • The opponent or villain must throw up roadblocks to keep the hero from reaching their scene goal.
  • Roadblocks must be realistic
  • Hero to struggle against the roadblocks. He should make several attempts to get around the roadblock. The conflict should take at least 3 or 4 twists and turns, the opponent trying different strategies against the hero.
  • E.g.: Injured from a previous fall, Stella’s swimming is not as strong as it usually is. A long-time rival tries to elbow her in the face. She also has to collect large heavy puzzle pieces along the way which slows her down. When she sees her boyfriend in trouble she doesn’t stop to help him.

Every scene must end with a Scene Disaster

  • The hero does not achieve his goal and is slightly farther from his story goal.
  • E.g.: When she gets the puzzle, she can’t put it together fast enough to win. Now she’s far down in the rankings, behind her rival and her boyfriend is disgusted with her.

In addition, the scene must be played out moment by moment, not summarized.  The conflict must be external (even if there’s internal conflict going on), so that it can be dramatically shown.