Monday, August 24, 2009

The Elements of a Scene

A scene can be defined as a closely connected sequence of actions in which one or more characters working toward an important goal encounter obstacles, struggle against those obstacles, achieve some kind of resolution, and end up with new problems. The new problems lead to new efforts to achieve their goals, which are dramatized in subsequent scenes, and so on to the climax. -- William G. Tapply in The Elements of Mystery Fiction.
Most of my stories are under 600 words and don’t include many scenes. In fact, most contain one scene, an instance in time showing one problem the character faces. Still, I understand if the character achieves a goal with little or no struggle, the reader will not feel rewarded. It doesn’t matter the type or length of a tale. The same elements of a scene apply.

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