Writing Scintillating Scenes––Part X

Big scenes. They are important to your story and will drive it along. How do you write a big scene? Is it a small focus, but vital to the story? A big scene may have only two characters interacting as part of a larger event, such as a wedding or funeral. Or a big scene could have many characters interacting together. Big scenes are important, whether the focus is large or small. Click to Tweet #amwriting #scintillatingscenes

Building a big scene is the same as building a regular. All the elements are there: an opening, an event, a pulse, a POV character, and a setting. It’s like a mini-story in that it has a beginning, middle, and an end. It builds until the scene ends. And, it must end with something changed or shifted.

One important thing to remember when writing a big scene––if you don’t get it right the first time, that’s OK. Revisions are always there to help you along.

Some things to think about before writing a big scene:

  1. Function––why have this scene?
  2. Setting and Major Event––these two together should help the scene have maximum impact.
  3. Characters––who is in the scene and why?
  4. Activity––the beats help with the main activity or event in the scene. One of the big scenes in my novel, “Meghan’s Choice,” is a scene in a saloon where two antagonists start a gunfight that my protagonist gets caught in the middle of.
  5. Pulse––brings energy and emotion to the scene.
  6. Focal point––the main idea

Exercises

  • Plan a scene with a focus on interaction between two people who are both attending a larger event. Do they bring conflict to the scene? Is an issue raised within the scene that directly affects one of the characters? That’s two different scene strategies right there. Give them interruptions, limited time to work things out, and create tension between them. Make sure you’ve established the scene by adding a bit of setting detail and a bit about what’s happening.
  • Spend time imagining circumstances your POV character(s) might combine in a suitable setting to make a big scene. Make a list of settings, circumstances, and other occasions where you could gather a bunch of people. If you want to create a big scene with more than one scene focus, it will have to be big, and engage the POV character in a larger idea. If it’s a wedding, and your POV character is the best man, but he’s still in love with the bride since childhood, think of the possibilities. Imagine many other problems that could happen.

Big scenes have big impact on your story. Plan them well and the results will become page turners. Click to Tweet #amwriting #scintillatingscenes

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