Monday, December 5, 2016

W is for Writing Scenes

Ana summarized a post by C.S. Lakin. See the entire post at  Nov 28, 2016

8-Step Process for a Solid Scene Worksheet

#1. Identify the Purpose of the Scene. In one sentence, explain what you intend to accomplish with this scene.

#2. Identify the High Moment. What is the key moment your scene is going to build toward? Describe in one sentence what will happen and why it’s important to your story.

#3.  Describe the inner and outer conflict that will permeate this scene and what this conflict will accomplish.

#4. Describe how your character will change by the end of the scene. Explain how this change helps advance your plot and/or complicates things for your character.

#5. Determine the best character to experience this scene in POV. Be sure that every line in your scene reflects the voice and mind-set of the POV character. Describe each new character through your POV character’s eyes.

#6. Leave Out the Boring Stuff. Distill backstory to a line or two. Take out lines of description of character or setting that reveal nothing that matters.If your scene has dialogue, look for extraneous speech tags you can delete. Ensure your narrative tags are helpful and revealing (instead of phrases like “she sipped her coffee”).

#7. Work on Your Beginning and Ending Hooks. Make the opening of your scene engaging. Start in the middle of something happening and stay in the present action to quickly build to the climax.

End at or right after your high moment with a strong hook that will make your readers dive right into the next scene.

#8. Add in Texture and Sensory Details. Be sure the first paragraphs of your scene establish the setting. Think about weather, time of day, time of year, sights, smells, sounds, the feel of the air or room, lighting. Include details that will help transport your readers into your story.

Choose intriguing settings that will add texture to your scene, where possible.


  1. Although this has a lot of good points to remember, it seems rather like overkill to me. There's no way I could analyse each scene in advance like this! Sometimes you simply have to go with the flow and rely on your gut feeling about a scene.

  2. For me, this is a great outline. I don't know if I'd use it in advance, but I think it's a great 'check point' to make sure I've covered the important nuances of a scene.

    Thanks for sharing this, Ana.

  3. I actually think this is terrific. Whether or not one chooses to write it down or internalize it, use it while writing or editing, I think it's necessary to use.

  4. I tried it last night on the chapter I'd just started writing. The first four points really helped me define the focus of the scene. I had POV already. The last points are definitely editing strategies.