By Shannon Donnelly
Everyone knows there’s a story arc—story goes up in tension, reaches a peak, and falls down. And there are character arcs, too, since story is character and character is story. But what about your scene arcs? That’s right—every scene needs an arc.
Jack M. Bickham (a student of Dwight Swain, whose book Techniques of a Selling Writer I highly recommend) describes a scene as: “…a segment of story action, written moment-by-moment, without summary, presented onstage in the story ‘now.’” (From Scene & Structure, How to Construct Fiction with Scene-by-scene Flow, Logic and Readability)
This means the scene starts, it has middle, and the scene ends. Wandering or pointless scenes need to be cut. But how do you make a weak scene better so you don’t have to cut it?
1—Make sure every scene has one focal character that comes into the scene wanting one…
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