What Should Be In Every Scene You Write?

Are you writing a scene? Is it missing something...? 

Scenes: they're the backbone of every story, whether it be TV, film, or even on the stage. Scenes build on one another and create a world, a vision, and take people on a journey. 

But how do you write a scene? And what should be in every scene? 

Check out this video from Tyler Mowery and let's talk after the jump. 

What Should Be In Every Scene You Write? 

This is a fun video that I think offers a few different perspectives, but at the end of the day, every scene needs to have one thing: drama.

Does your character have a goal in the scene? What's standing in their way?

That's it. That's the center of every scene. 

Drama is the perils that your characters will face in order to achieve their goal. Those perils can make us laugh, they can be thrilling, they can be emotional. 

But without drama, you're not building a story. You're just boring us. 

So how can you add drama to scenes? 

Well, there can be a tangible goal, like getting the gold statue out of the temple. That works, but a lot of times we want something intangible in our scenes. Think about a detective trying to pry clues or exposition from someone—that can be used for plot, character development, and story. 

How can you make that dramatic? 

Sometimes you have to make the intangible into something tangible. Think about this scene from Boardwalk Empire

Nucky shows up and wants respect. That's taken in the form of his wife's dinner order. The guys who have the respect (his adversaries) have the dinner order she wants, lobster. So he goes over and denies it to them. 

His action provides the drama and something tangible to suss out the intangibles. 

And it gives us a story to build on, as he continues his quest to control Atlantic City. 

Make sense? 

The biggest pratfall I see from younger writers are scenes that have no conflict. People come in and out of doors and espouse facts, then go on their way. We need to see what stands in their way both tangibly and intangibly if we want to really be a part of the story. 

Got questions or ideas? 

Put them in the comments. 

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