How to Write a Scene – Our Write Side

Did you know a scene is the building block of our story and follow a similar structure arc as our novels on a micro scale? So what do we need to consider to write strong scenes? Let’s take a look.

First, each scene must have a character goal and a goal you as the author have for each scene. The character goal drives the plot and emotion forward while your author goal shapes what you do with the scene. Author goals can include introducing a character or plot device, developing character relationships, or establishing an emotion.

Scenes should start with action. This doesn’t mean it has to start with a car chase or an explosion, but the character should be doing something. Scenes should also end on action, not after everything is wrapped up and everyone has gone home.

Questions to ask

  • What kind of scene is it? Action, reaction (to a previous scene), or a combination of both?
  • Who is in the scene?
  • What is the character goal?
  • What is your author goal for this scene?
  • What needs to happen?
  • Where and when does this happen?
  • What are the external and internal conflicts?
  • What are the stakes?
  • What is your character thinking and feeling?

Scenes should start and end with action. #writingadvice Click To Tweet

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Now that you’ve answered those questions, you’ll know what needs to be included in the scene. Try writing the first and last sentence to your scene before writing the whole scene. This can help you keep your scene on track.

We’ve discussed how to write a scene list here. Use your scene list to keep each scene’s structure and goal in mind when you write. For more tips on how to write a scene, visit here.

What questions do you keep in mind when you write a scene? Comment below and happy writing.


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Columnist/Illustrator at Our Write Side/OWS Ink, LLC Julia Allen received her BA in Creative Writing and English from Michigan State University. She did her senior thesis in poetry under the tutelage of Diane Wakoski, but has been focused primarily on fiction as of late. Common writing themes that can be found in her work address identity and the type of strength that can be found in ordinary people. Julia is currently working on a Young Adult fantasy novel and can be found at local cafes in her hometown when writing, and painting, drawing, or reading when not.