Hello!  I'm author/coach Doug Kurtz of Write Life Coaching. Let's create and outline a scene for your novel, memoir or short fiction.
“The engine of fiction is somebody wanting something and going out to get it.  And if you let him get it right away, you’re killing the story.” –Sol Stein
What's your name, fellow writer? *

Who is the point of view (POV) character for your scene? *

This is the character whose consciousness will filter the action of the scene, the one whose thoughts and emotions are accessible to the reader. 

For the sake of a running example, I'm going to create a POV character called Maynard.

Enter your character's name here:
What is {{answer_29602055}}'s GOAL in this scene? *

You can think of the character's goal as a want, desire, intention, objective, etc.  Use whatever language works for you. Be sure that the stated goal is as specific and concrete as possible. If the character has more than one goal, no worries, you can state them all right here.

EXAMPLE: Maynard's goal is to get a cookie from the cookie jar (even though he's not allowed).

Enter {{answer_29602055}}'s goal here:
What EMOTION does {{answer_29602055}} feel in conjunction with his/her GOAL? *

Your character may feel more than one emotion, and the emotions may be in conflict with one another. This is fine. Emotions are complex, and your character should be, too.

EXAMPLE: Maynard is feeling anticipation and guilt.

Enter {{answer_29602055}}'s emotion(s) here:
What COMPLICATION arises to interfere with {{answer_29602055}}'s  GOAL? *

You can think of the complication as an obstacle, impediment, challenge, block, etc. Be as specific and concrete as possible when you state the complication.

EXAMPLE: Maynard can't get the lid off the cookie jar because it's on too tight.

Enter the complication(s) for your scene here:
What NEW EMOTION arises for {{answer_29602055}} as a result of the COMPLICATION? *

In a good scene, the POV character (and often other characters, too) experiences an emotional arc; i.e., they move from one emotional state to another.

EXAMPLE: When Maynard can't open the cookie jar, he becomes frustrated and nervous, because his mother will soon be home.

Enter {{answer_29602055}}'s new emotion(s) here:
What ACTION does  {{answer_29602055}}  take in the face of the COMPLICATION? *

The emotional state {{answer_29602055}} is in, and the action(s) he/she takes, reveal character and develop plot. Now we have insight into who this person is and what might happen next.

EXAMPLE: In his frustrated, nervous state, Maynard can't open the cookie jar, so he smashes it with a hammer and eats all the cookies.

Enter {{answer_29602055}}'s action(s) here:
What are the RESULTS of the ACTION that {{answer_29602055}} takes? *

The results won't necessarily show up right in this scene, but it's good for you to have a sense of what they are so the story's momentum continues to develop.

EXAMPLE: For Maynard--who has revealed himself to be impulsive, destructive and not all that smart--the result is that he swallows a glass fragment and is rushed to the hospital by his angry, worried mother. The plot moves forward and we wonder what will happen next.

Enter the result(s) of {{answer_29602055}}'s action(s) here:
This is what the core movement of your scene looks like:

POV CHARACTER: {{answer_29602055}}
GOAL(S): {{answer_29602056}}
COMPLICATION(S): {{answer_29602058}}
ACTION(S): {{answer_29602060}}
RESULT(S): {{answer_29602061}}

Always look for ways to make the arc of your scene stronger and clearer. What can you revise here to more powerfully develop the plot and {{answer_29602055}}'s character? Are there other, less obvious goals you can layer onto the scene for more complexity?

Enter your revision notes here:
This is {{answer_29602055}}'s emotional arc in the scene:

NEW EMOTION(S): {{answer_29602059}}

If the emotional arc seems weak or unclear, or disconnected from the core movement of the scene, work with it until it feels right. What revisions can you make to it right now to improve your scene?

Enter them here:
This is the outline of your emotionally arcing, plot-driving, character-developing scene, including revision notes: 
POV CHARACTER: {{answer_29602055}}
GOAL(S): {{answer_29602056}}
EMOTION(S):  {{answer_29602057}}
COMPLICATION(S): {{answer_29602058}}
NEW EMOTION(S): {{answer_29602059}}
ACTION(S): {{answer_29602060}}
RESULT(S): {{answer_29602061}}
{{answer_29602062}} {{answer_29602063}}

Use the Scene Engine to design your scenes before you write them, or to capture their movement after the fact--whatever's most comfortable for you and best honors your writing process. 

Once you master the basics, you'll become more fluid, complex and creative with your scene writing, and your story will have greater depth and impact.

“In its pure essence, a work of fiction is a sequence of scenes from page one to the end.” –William Sloane
Thanks for trying my Scene Engine! I hope it works as well for you as it does for me. If you know other writers who would benefit from it, please share.

For more great tools, visit www.writelifecoaching.com.
Powered by Typeform
Powered by Typeform