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Scenes

Scene Structure

A story is a series of scenes – each one being a small part of the story, which shows the reader something new about the story, driving the action forwards to move the story along – or gives us insights into events.

A scene is a section of your novel where characters engage in action or dialogue. You can think of a scene as a story with a beginning, middle, and an end. The scenes within a chapter are usually related, and some novels have one scene per chapter for the entire story.

Scene structure:

  • Openings of scenes

  • Middles of scenes

  • Endings and transitions

  • Types of scenes

  • The 5 w’s

Open a scene with a setting using visual imagery. Opening scenes introduce characters, plots, and settings.

The middle of your scene should read more like a play-by-play account than a summary of events. That means dialogue, specific details, body language, character thoughts, and the 5 senses. The reader should feel like they are watching the story unfold.

Endings (closing the circle) should tie everything together. The ending reminds readers of the beginning (full circle) by returning to an important place or by reintroducing a key character. The ending connects to some earlier element in the story.

Types of scenes needed to drive the plot forward: exposition (intro’), preparation, transition, investigation, revelation, escape and pursuit, aftermath and resolution.


The 5 W’s: Who, What, When, Where, and Why


  • Who? Who is the main character of the story? Who is doing the most action?

  • What? What happened? What is the main event?

  • Where? Did the story take place in a specific town, country, or region?

  • When? Did the story take place at a specific time or during a period of time?

  • Why? Why did the “what” happen? Why did the "who" do something?





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