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How Do I Write Great Scenes

First, let's discuss what is considered a scene.


A scene is where there is any type of activity going on, whether it is physical action, dialogue or internal assessment by your characters. There are two types of scenes—the action and the follow-up scene.


Action scenes are exactly what they sound like. There must be some type of activity going on. Follow-up scenes are where the character feels, thinks, reassesses, and plans their next move.

Scenes do not include background information or descriptions of setting only.


How do I write an action scene?


Create conflict. Your MC must be trying to solve a problem with either their actions or through dialogue with other characters. End each battle scene with your MC being worse off than they were at the beginning of the scene. They must fail in some way, even if it can be seen as a small win, they should be injured in some physical way.


For dialogue scenes, the MC should be mentally injured by something another character says. Again, you can have your character gain something, but they should have a new problem to solve.


How do I write a follow-up scene?


Follow-up scenes have four components.

Emotion

Analysis of previous actions

Weighing options

Decision making


Your character (and your reader) will need time to recover from the action scenes. First, they need to deal with their emotions. Then they will analyze what happened in the action scene. Further into the novel, they may look back on everything they have tried and failed to accomplish. Next, they will need to weigh new options on how can achieve their goals. And finally, they will decide what to do next.


To fully understand what makes a scene and how to construct it, I suggest you look at one of your favorite novels. Chose an action scene and pick out how the author created conflict and made their MC worse off than before and see if you can identify the four components of the follow-up scene.


Next, choose an action scene in your MS and see if you created conflict, have your MC more damaged than at the start, and have hit all the components in the scene that follows.


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