5 points to BUILD A SCENE and a brief discussion about SHOW DON’T TELL rule that can up your writing game!

We’ll keep talking about the scene for a bit, mostly cause I feel many times we skip learning this part and only focus on the grand scheme of things, the plot and characters, right? even the theme, that abstract freakin’ unbearable idea always escaping it’s designation… uggh! but if you’re a writer you must know that facing the page, what you’re actually doing is building a sequences of scenes. And these scenes are what people will read in the end, is in these dramatic constructions that characters live, do and learn.

So, what the hell is a scene?

It’s a desire, an obstacle and a resolution between a bunch of characters, following the desire line of only one of them. Imagine you need help from someone else, they don’t know it yet. So you go to them, maybe their room, let’s say you want them to lend you something. You get there, at the doorway they see you.

Antagonist
What do you want?

They say, in your mind you say “well, that’s rude!” but you need something from them, right? so if you say it out loud, I mean “Well, that’s rude!” your chances of getting what you want may diminish.

So you go with a friendly…

Protagonist
Hey, what’s up?

Now, the character you’re facing already knows one or two things about you. So, they already kinda know the tone of your voice, they’re anticipating your desire.

You’re caught trying to lie your way through it, so the only possible way now is to be open about it.

Protagonist
Please lend me the stuff.

Hey! good adding with the please there, made it polite enough so the person actually helps you out and you go about your life with a happy face.

End scene!

Now, we only watched two characters interacting after a desire was exposed, the obstacle here is the relationship between them, right? But, let me comment about something even more interesting than that, it has to do with the “Iceberg Theory“.

In the beginning, the character felt attacked by the “What do you want?” question, remember? What does this say about this character? Are they constantly being questioned by others? are they shy and not wanting to have further interaction?

What does the question says about the character who spoke it? are they mad or is it a standard thing for them to ask in a rude way?

Also, the anticipation of the desire, after the first lie tells us that these characters know each other, it implies some sort of familiarity between them.

My point being, a scene is the place where characters collide and show themselves, is the opportunity to be, to exist, and the better part is that, in a sequence of scenes, a character grows every time they get the chance to do so. Isn’t that amazing!

Okay, so I said I was gonna talk about those 5 points or whatever… they can help you when following the “Show, don’t tell” rule. Let’s review them now:

Add an action; this may sound obvious, but some people just don’t do it! is not enough to have people talking, you know? you need to have them do something. I mean what the hell do they want?? Keep in mind that something needs to happen and must be something concrete!

Dialogue; This is not always needed, let’s be honest here. Understanding that dialogue is the convey of information, please use it to rely information that has something to do with the actual story? please? is it too much to ask? deepen our understanding of the characters or about the plot, use it effectively!!

Specific intimate details; Okay I’ll admit it, this sounds kinda pervert, it just does, okay? the idea being that in a scene, in any place where the characters are, we can always learn more about them. Some think about this in the terms of leads or clues or hints at the plot or characters, get it?

Inner point of view; this one lands more on the novel type of stories, but it can also be used in screenwriting or any other dramatic form. Is the idea of the author, the particular lenses through which we are entering the story.

Okay, that’s it for today. I feel we really went deep this time, don’t you? and about this show don’t tell rule, just don’t be lazy, okay? use the craft to really imagine the stuff that’s going on. I mean, c’mon! just let enough space for the audience to be a part of it and you’ll be fine. As the most important person in my life often says, it’s all about the balance, and you know what? she’s always right about these things, so listen up!

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