SCENE 4: Plan a Scene

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Writing Scenes: Planning

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StrongerScenes250x15030 Days to a Stronger Scene Table of Contents
Here’s a basic template for planning a scene. Later, when you get ready to write the scene, you might want to list individual actions in what’s called a “beat sheet.” But when you’re just planning scenes, you want these basics.

  • Basics
    • Setting:
    • Where are we
    • What is the Occasion
    • Who is present:
    • What happens, or what is the plot event
  • Emotion
    • Emotional Pulse/subtext running through the scene:
    • Emotion at Beginning:
    • Emotion in middle
    • Emotion at End:
  • Plot
    • Plot Goal:
    • Plot Complication:
    • Plot Complication:
    • Plot Complication:
    • Disaster at end of scene:
  • What gets reviewed in between scenes This is the emotional reaction to what just happened and can be covered in a single word. (Angry, she went. . . ) or can take a couple pages. After the emotional outburst, the character thinks about everything and decides what to do next, which leads to. . .
  • Goal of next scene:

  • Natalie Aguirre
    November 4, 2010

    These last two posts were really helpful. I’ve been thinking a lot lately about how some of my scenes drag too much. There’s too much talking and not enough action. I fall into that problem too much. Today hopefully I’ll fix one chapter. I had to look at totally changing the setting and who is present to make it more exciting.

  • Darcy Pattison
    November 4, 2010

    Ah, dragging scenes, the bane of our life. Recognizing that some drag is the beginning of a great revision, though. So, it’s good.


  • Brian Newman
    December 19, 2013

    Thank you so very much for this. My problem is that my scenes are always too short. I wish I’d found this earlier.