Tuesday, November 28, 2006

The Importance of Scene in Fiction - Beating Off Agents and Publishers

Dear Dead Beat,

I know scene is important in fiction - but what exactly is it?

Sorry, feeling silly asking this.

Dear Feeling Silly,

Heck of a question. Scene is not just important in fiction, it is the basic unit of fiction. If you can write a scene, you can write whatever you want. If you can't write a scene, they tell me Engineering is a pretty good stock in trade.

So what is a scene? Think about the word. It is a location. It has people and an event.

(Hey, Dead Beat are you saying it contains the basic elements of fiction: plot(action); characters; and setting?)

In one.

You have a single location, two or more people (okay, you can have a single person, but it gets a little tricky - monologue and all that) and some action. If one person leaves, the scene has ended. If another person enters, the scene has ended. If the location changes, the scene has ended.

Scenes have the basic elements of fiction and they need to be described in detail. So the location is vivid. The characters are credible: they talk; they think; and they feel. Some event is described.

Now this is important - a plot is a sequence of events (not a series, mind you, a sequence - check out your math - Dead Beat has told you often, to write you need a math degree - check out Dead Beat's credentials). So a story needs a sequence of scenes. A number of scenes form episodes. And a number of episodes form a story or a book or any piece of well written fiction.

Work on your scenes. Make them credible and vivid. Arrange them in a sequence and beat off the agents and publishers.

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