Bakers Dozen: Creative Writing Workbook (Chapter 7, page 1 of 1)

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Chapter 7

Another important element of the short story is a scene. Think of a scene as a piece of a story. Usually a different scene begins when the time or place changes. A scene, then, happens at one time in one place.

A scene should do one of these things: (Or depending on the story, more than one)

1. Give exposition 2.Reveal character and/or 3. Advance the plot.

The story as a whole has a beginning, middle, and end. So does a scene. Writing stories will not beso daunting if the writer thinks of it as a series of scenes and writes the scenes one at a time. To make things easier, you can write a scene to fit each part of the plot structure that we talked about earlier.

Scene one tells where and when the story takes place, introduces characters, and hints at conflict.

Scene two starts the action. We have the first major outbreak of conflict between the protagonist and the antagonist.

Then, write a separate scene for each one of your complications, one that describes the climax or high point of your sentence and a final scene to wrap your story up.

Assignment: Keeping in mind that a scene must take place at one time and one place, find a short story, television show, etc. and divide it into scenes, briefly describing each scene.

Then tell which one(s) of the three things the scene does. (gives exposition, reveals character, and advances the plot.

For example: scene one takes place along the beach at night where two guys are robbing a tourist. This scene introduces character, conflict, and other expository elements.

Scene two takes place the next morning. A beachcomber finds the tourist dead. He checks into his pockets and finds he is a U.S. Senator. This scene advances the plot.


Assignment Two: Write an opening scene for your story.

Assignment Three: Write a middle scene for your story.

Assignment Four: All right. Here you go. Finish your story. Proofread it sentence by sentence, paragraph by paragraph, using the techniques explained in this text to test their effectiveness. Read your story aloud. You will "hear" it much better. Before you slap your story into an envelope and mail it, let someone who will give you an honest critique read it. Then, read the magazine that you want to send your story to. Then and only then, mail it off.

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