Imagine attending a football game with no rules. I don’t know about you, but there’s a limit to how excited I could get about watching a bunch of men run around with no particular aim in mind. Really, except for the tight pants, it would be pointless.
What makes the game worth watching is knowing your team has a goal, and knowing there’s an opposing team aiming to stop them from achieving it. That’s what pulls you to the edge of your seat, screaming and pumping your fist in the air.
It’s the same when you read fiction. If the writer hasn’t told you how to keep score, you have no way of knowing whether the characters are drawing nearer or farther from accomplishing their goals, and little reason to care.
Without the White Witch, Aslan is just a recluse lion. Without Moriarty, Sherlock is just a know-it-all in a weird hat. Without the Joker, Batman is just a rich dude with anger issues and too much time on his hands.
Our villains make our heroes. Without them, our heroes can’t shine. That’s why it’s important to give our villains scenes where they can wow us with their quirks and scare us with their ferocity.
Have you ever faced this kind of issue? You have a scene goal in mind, you know the characters involved, where they are and what they want, but HOW does the scene play out? What exactly happens to bring the characters from Point A to Point B in the story?
That’s when the power of improv might come in handy.
The scene is the fundamental unit of story. It’s what drives the story forward, instilling purpose, drama, and emotion. It’s critical to understand the elements that make it effective and know how to employ them. In this article, that’s what we’ll examine—plus, how to use Scrivener to make sure all those elements are present.
Great fiction is built around tension. The bad news is, we experience tension in our own lives every day. The good news is, it’s great fuel for our stories. The question is, how do you create that experience for your readers by building tension in your scenes?