Sunday, December 6, 2009

TODAY'S NUGGET: "Rocking Chair" Scenes

I've been seeing a lot of scripts that only create conflict for the present scene.

- All loose ends are wrapped up at the end of the scene.
- Or the scene demonstrates one of the character traits, but does not interweave into the overall plot.

In other words, there's no reason for the next scene.


*Crickets chirping*

[MY INNER WHINER: Uh, isn't this supposed to be a nugget in here somewhere?
ME: Why? There's no conflict, i.e., they're not giving me anything to work with.
MY INNER WHINER: Plllleeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeease?
ME: Fine. But you're gonna think this is SO obvious.]

Like a trail of gunpowder, the conflict in Scene A should spark in Scene B.

Unfortunately, I see a lot of Scene As that are like rocking chairs - they have a lot of conflict but it doesn't go anywhere. There's a start-stop-start-stop motion rather than a smooth, escalating ride.

WHAT I'VE LEARNED: I often write in coverage that the scene "lacked conflict and did not push the story forward." Did you keep the scene in b/c you fell in love with your writing? Did you think about how it will fit into the bigger picture?

Make sure each scene contains some conflict ready to blow so I have to turn the page to see how it was resolved.

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