Monday, June 09, 2014

Building A Scene

One of the hardest things beginning writers have is building a scene. Although I can understand why, it's not that hard. Let me show you!

The first thing you need to do is figure out what you need to accomplish. This is the "scene goal", and sets up a number of plot issues. The first is that it gives you something to strive for, but it also establishes the setting and minimum characters needed for the scene. You also need to decide if the scene should end negatively or positively; an argument can end in two really ticked characters or in reconciliation. This is the first step.

The second is to do up a short outline. Each scene needs to be set up like a miniature three-act play; it needs to have an instigating action and end with either a falling or rising action depending on if it needs to end negatively or positively, respectively. A scene must have an initial set up, and go from there. This outline should end as per the scene goal.

The last is to throw in dialog. Only use dialog if it moves the plot; sometimes action or facial expressions is all you need. One of the reasons that comics are known for stilted dialog is because the writers feel the need to add in dialog to fill space rather than move plot; limit the use of dialog to a bare minimum and you are going to be surprised how much better the strip looks.

This should really help with any basic script-writing. It may not seem like it applies to talking head strips, but all of this really does: If you break down the best strip will follow this a lot closer than you would think. See how it works for you when you start writing, and you should note things becoming a lot easier. 

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