Scene Development

Writing is an endless process of revisions and editing, at least for me. So how does a writer know when a scene if finished? I use a template, shown below, to make me ask myself some hard questions. Once I can fill in the blanks below, I feel like I have a working draft of a scene.

I also have templates for settings and a detailed spreadsheet to keep track or dates, when a character is introduced, weather, etc., but template below gives me a sense of whether the scene has done its job in the context of the novel.

My template keeps growing and changing with each novel, but here it is in it’s current format.

Beginning = Hook:

Middle = Development:

Climax = Disaster:

Action (Scene or Sequel):

What does POV Want:

Outcome if POV fails:

How Does Scene Move Plot Forward:

How Does Scene Builds on Previous Scene:

How Does Scene Leads to Next Scene:

What’s Happening Between Characters That’s Not Spelt Out:

Is Setting Best Place For Emotional Impact?

Do you have anything you could add to the template?  I like to add new items that I can think about.

Thanks for reading . . .


Tips For Ordering Scenes In A Novel

Have you ever had trouble deciding the best order to put your scenes in?

Once you have a first draft written do you try different combinations to see what works best?

If you’ve been reading my blog, you might have guessed I’ve added a new row to my spreadsheet. I call it Scene Dependency.

First, I was just using it to list what scenes had to come before the scene I was reviewing. Then I discovered something even better.

Was it possible to link the end of one scene to the beginning of the next?

You bet. There are different ways to achieve this. For example:

  • Have one character end a scene. Have the next scene start with another character thinking of the previous character.
  • Put an object important to the story at the end of one scene and beginning of the next.
  • Use the same location at the end of one scene and the beginning of the next.
  • End a scene at night, start the next scene the following morning.
  • Reference the same weather in both scenes.
  • Reference the same sight. Maybe the moon setting or an avalanche at the end of one scene and the beginning of the next.
  • Use emotions to link the scenes.

In the end, have it all listed in your spreadsheet. You might be surprised how it changes the order of your scenes and gives you a fluid motion throughout your novel. The reader will feel more connected to your story if one scene links to the next even if the scenes are about different events.

Can you add to this list? Do you have any tips to ordering scenes? I’d love to hear them.

Thanks for reading . . .