Monday, February 4, 2008

Making a Scene

1. The scene is the basic unit of drama.
2. Most short stories and novels are compilations of scenes strategically arranged for the most effective dramatic result (which is an emotional impact of some sort).
3. Scenes in novels and short stories are often--but not necessarily--connected by narrative, which is in effect stage directions writ large, including but not limited to a particular point of view, an indication of intent, a benchmark of story development, and/or a summary adduced or deduced from things characters have said, done, or not done in earlier scenes.
4. Scenes contain but are not limited to:
A. Landscape/setting
B. Characters
C. Dialogue
E. Tempo
F. Conflict
G. Suspense
H. Tension
I. Beats (events)
J. An awareness of power being exerted or exchanged
K. Reversals
L. Surprises
M. Point of view
5. Characters enter scenes with expectations of some outcome, a hot slot machine in a casino, an argument, approval, being ranked on, being ignored
6. Characters enter scenes believing they are right and/or entitled or...
7. Characters enter scenes wanting to restore some status or balance
8. Successful scenes may lack two or three of 1-7 supra, but fall into the category of endangered species if they lack four or more
9. Epistolary stories do not necessarily have scenes
10. Postmodern stories may have formats (emails, IMs, recorded messages) that do not contain scenes but which nevertheless suggest the presence of past, present, and future scenes
11. Thus scenes have an awareness of time past, time present, and time future
12. Scenes have some relevance however tenuous or thematic to the story at hand
13. A story without scenes is of a piece with a body lacking in cells
14. The arrangement of scenes in a story does not demand a strict chronology or, indeed, any kind of chronology
15. If feng shui works for rooms, there is no reason why it cannot be a useful concept for placement of the scenes in a story.

1 comment:

R.L. Bourges said...

15. true - the only requirement being a reliable compass. good feng shui is unthinkable without one: