HOW TO DEVELOP A SCENE INTERNALLY
Yesterday we talked about how to begin a scene and how to end a scene: FROM HEAD TO TOE. Today, we need to talk about the in-between.
Think of a runner. The runner knows where to start, and he knows where to finish. If he doesn’t, then he’ll never have a chance in a race. That’s why we started with the beginning and the end of a scene first. Where are you now, and where are you heading?
After that, we should consider the harder part: how to get to the place you are headed. Sprinters train tirelessly for all three parts. They train on how to come out the blocks the instant the gun sounds. They train how to run full speed through the finish line without slowing down. Those are the parts that we don’t consider if we are watching a race, but what we do see is what they do in-between point A and point B.
So, thinking about Jimbo from yesterday, the boy who is getting run over by his ex-girlfriend, how can we build the scene? Build like you are building blocks — not in the way that we were taught which is setting each block directly on top of the other. Place each one a little more off center than the previous. So the higher your tower goes, the more anxious the reader becomes knowing that your tower, or scene, is about to cause some chaos.
The scene from yesterday was very short. Jimbo is free from his ex. She texts him. He is back in her grasp. Let’s keep the same succinctness for the sake of this post, but the idea will still be the same. This new scene starts with her showing up.
Three solid knocks on the door downstairs alerted him. His heart raced from either excitement or agony. Either way, he couldn’t control his breathing. He stumbled down the stairs, trying to keep his balance by using the banister. Three more knocks followed the voice that was sweet and innocent, but as directive as Stalin’s. “James?” He hated when she called him that, but he’d endure it for one night more…he hoped.
See the scene tension. We know that the chick is crazy! We know she dun’ lost her dang mind! And in just a few lines, we feel compassion for Jimbo. She even calls him by his birth-name, which disgusts him.
With a scene, a reader should be constantly asking two certain questions?
1) What’s going to happen next?
2) Why is he doing what he’s doing? This should not be in confusion but out of compassion.
I hope this helps! Stop by tomorrow.