Scene – MSP Workshop Notes

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  • Each scene is a micro-story in itself containing:
    • Purpose
    • An inciting incident
    • Tension
    • Conclusion
  • Starting a scene
    • Launching a scene
      • characters
      • action
      • narrative
      • setting
    • Vary the beginning of scenes just like you vary your sentence structure.
    • Starting with dialog
      • Sacrifices grounding
        • Ground your readers as soon as possible after the dialog
      • Adds energy
      • Could be too much tension up front
        • How can you escalate tension?
  • The middle of a scene has one of three things:
    • Withhold
    • Element of danger
    • Reveal
  • Tension and plot
    • Scenes can be used to establish the status quo as a set up break the status quo.
    • The Jim Butcher model states that scenes are an action or reaction.
    • A scene exists if it in some way shape or form advances the story.
    • Use Want -> But -> Therefore for advancement of the story.
    • Scenes contain cause and effect that help advance a plot.
  • The first scene
    • is the most important scene because people who aren’t familiar with your work are going to buy or not buy your book on that scene.
    • is a promise to your reader how the end of the book is going to hack their brain.
  • The last scene
    • For novels, the last scene should end on a reaction.
    • For short stories, the last scene should end on an action.
  • General
    • Suggested one scene per chapter
    • The entrance or exit is relative to where the scene before it ends and after it begins.
    • Dwell on important stuff
      • The specific things you focus on will set the readers mindset.
    • Establish stakes or goals
      • Your character should have a goal.
  • What a scene is not
    • Infodump
      • The whole point of the scene is to reveal information
      • This is different than a “reveal” similar to “Luke I am your father!”
    • Dialog only
    • Often transportation to the scene is included when not necessary.
  • What is your favorite scene?
    • Awkward character meetings
    • Scenes that are descriptive and seminal for the character
      • Catniss going into the arena
  • Recommended books or resources

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