Making a Scene


Do you have any particular technique you use when writing a scene, or do you just write? I wonder, because I’m trying to settle on how much planning I should put into my writing.

When I write a blog post (like this one) I always start with the title, which I use to keep on track. If I find myself going too far astray I either reword the title or I throw a bunch of stuff out. Usually it’s the latter.

Also, my blog posts are written in the first person, which simplifies the point of view issue. Writing a scene means I need to consider which character is the POV character — the one whose thoughts are explored and whose reactions to events are primary. That can be pretty muddy at times.

I also need to keep in mind who the protagonist and antagonist are. In my last post I wrote a little vignette (a mini scene) about a priestess riding into a small village. It was pretty evident that Drusilla was the POV character and the protagonist, but it wasn’t until afterward that I really understood what the elements of the scene were.

The protagonist was Drusilla. The antagonist was the Church, or more specifically her sense of duty to the Church. The event that Drusilla was reacting to was her being sent to the village, while her goal in the scene was to get a meal and some sleep. Her ultimate goal was to regain her position as a librarian in the Abbey. Her sense of duty (the antagonist) was preventing her from achieving her goals, which was the source of conflict for the scene.

Looking back I can see that there was more that went into that vignette than I had realized, which is probably why I like it better than a lot of my writing. The sad part is that it wasn’t really planned, which probably explains why my writing can be pretty uneven.

I know intellectually what pieces need to be in there, but I don’t have a process to ensure that they always make it into my writing. I’ve got to work on that.

What do you do to ensure that your scenes always have some conflict, and that the conflict supports the overall goal of the story? Is there anything else that should be included that I’m missing?

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About Kurt Schweitzer

A former vampire logistics facilitator, past purveyor of Italian-style transportation, and Y2K disaster preventer, I'm currently creating websites, novels and other fictions while reinventing myself. Again.
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