Author Life / Prompts · June 23, 2019

Scene Development | Let’s Write

I don’t really know what I’m doing while writing if I’m to be completely honest with you.

I do think that’s half of the fun—figuring it out, learning about new techniques, routines, and steps.

That brings me to my most recent discovery: scene development.

I didn’t even know this was a thing until this year which is a little embarrassing, but what can you do. I saw a little article on scenes vs. chapters and went down the Pinterest rabbit hole.

I don’t have an exact source for the setup I’ve recently been using because I see it in so many different articles (so if you know where it came from, please let me know so I can drop proper credit!).

Either way, here are the six steps I’ve recently been using to develop a scene:

1. Goal: protagonist/POV sets out to accomplish something


2. Conflict: while trying to accomplish, obstacle appears


3. Disaster: progress is prevented and POV moves forward on a different path/plot


4. Reaction: POV reacts (briefly or not) to previous disaster (character development)


5. Dilemma: as result of disaster, new complication arises in attempt to reach goal


6. Decision: decides how to act and new goal is made for next scene


Now it’s actually amazing how much this helps my writer’s block. Yes, it helps organization and pacing, but when I have no idea what to write, this is a tremendous tool. I literally just copy and paste this into Scrivener (in a folder I named scene outlines, haha) and fill it out. That way I’m able to quickly click back and forth when trying to write the dang thing. PLUS, if I’m not feeling the actual writing—which has been me this whole month—I still feel like I’m gaining progress… very vague progress, but progress.

I’m still not too solid on the whole “scene vs chapter” thing, but I do feel more comfortable writing now that I have some sort of guideline for pacing and content.

What helps you when writing a scene and/or chapter? Let me know!


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