Story Element

Story Element #12

What is the Purpose of A Scene?

There must always be a reason any given scene exists in your story. A scene without a purpose will distract the reader from the main story. It may even bore the reader. If a scene doesn’t drive the story forward, then ask yourself why it’s even in your novel.

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We are Going through the 38 elements of fiction writing. And it is so exciting last week we covered the naming of scenes. So we hope that you’ve gone through your entire manuscript and divided that into all the scenes and made sure that all those scenes have reword names.

And now we’re going to talk about the purpose. Kristina, take us into the section.

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How To Determine The Purpose Of A Scene?


The purpose of the scene comes naturally out of the scene name. And if you’re a writer or an editor, then this is really the next step in plot that you want to be looking at, so that every scene in the story has a value and there must be a reason that a scene exists in a story.

And that seems really obvious. I know, but I I’ve written a few books and I know that you get carried away on your first draft and it’s very exciting to write and your characters do something different you don’t expect.

And you end up with these glorious scenes. But if the scene actually has nothing to do with the plot, it really shouldn’t be in the book. And so looking at the purpose of a scene gives you a way to assess why is it in the book?

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How Does Genre Affect Scene Purpose?


Right. Right. So how do we determine, how do we figure that out?

Okay. So they’re naming the scene really helps because if you can name a scene, you know, that the scene has a purpose. So what you want to look for is earlier in the book, you know, the scene should introduce an ordinary world and the protagonist and it should entice the reader into the story. So you want to look at earlier in the, in the story, there’s different reasons for a scene to be there. It could be setting the mood. If you’re writing a fantasy story and you need to set the world, it could be character introduction.

It could be a thriller where you start right in the middle of the action. And the purpose is to get the blood going in the reader. So you want to look early in the book first to see why did you put that scene there? And if you can’t think of why it’s there, that’s a good indication that maybe it shouldn’t be there.

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Evaluating The Purpose Of A Scene


Right? Right. Absolutely. And so we’re looking at those and they need to carry it from one scene to the next. So they need to be in order and making sense. So how do we do that this week? Are we going to go through every single scene again?


Yeah. And so you can, you can do this in different ways. If you haven’t gone through naming your scenes, you can name the scene and do the purpose at the same time. Or you can go through every scene.

And by this time you should have a good idea of why the scene is there. And when you name the scenes, you’re pretty well going to figure out, Hmm. Maybe there’s nothing in this scene. So if you think a scene doesn’t have purpose, but there’s something important in it. You want to look at that scene and go, okay, there was a clue or red herring, a secret shared something that maybe could go on a different scene. And then you could cut to that scene altogether.

Or you can look at adding if there’s little bit of purpose, add something else in. And so this is a hard job because you really need to understand your whole story, which he will now, because you’ve named all your scenes. And then you can answer the question, what is the purpose? So the short answer is yes, you have to go through and you’re going to see there’s many passes that revising a story, and it can take two to six months, depending on how much time you have to dedicate and how much work needs to be done with the story.

38 Story Elements Inventor


Right. Right. Well, it’s our baby. So we’re going to keep working on it and make sure it grows and prospers the way we want it to. So again, we encourage you to go through those scenes down, make sure your book and on your manuscript is divided into those scenes and then make sure that when you’re naming them, that purpose fits into the overall story arc and making sure that we’re on the right path. So again, a little bit of help there, a lot of work, but you can do this. So keep going and we’ll see you in a week. Okay.

Evaluate the scene purpose and tighten your story.

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