The Stepping Stones of Stories: Scenes


All stories have scenes. Scenes serve as stepping stones to move the story forward from the beginning to the end. Scenes drive forward the story you are writing. In a short story, you could have only one scene or several. In novels, you have many scenes.

What composes a scene?

A scene is a unit of storytelling that is composed of three things:

  1. It takes place in a specific place
  2. It flows over an unbroken period of time.
  3. While a character does things that move the story forward.

The scene should unfold in the reader’s mind like a movie. To do this effectively, the writer needs to show those things which allow the reader to experience what the main character is experiencing. In other words – put the reader into the scene by using simple concrete nouns that describe what is happening.

Each scene should:

  1. Have a purpose such as to deepen the conflict of the story, or reveal something about the characters.
  2. Have a beginning, a middle and an end.
  3. Change something over the course of that scene.

Scenes drive the plot of your story so be judicious in building those stepping stones to get to a satisfactory ending. The next time you begin to write a story think about where your path of stepping stones needs to go. It will help to drive your story and keep you on track.

Drop me a comment and tell me if this works for you. I would love to hear from you!

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