Monday, 7 February 2011

How to Use a Scene Check List

A scene check list can be a useful tool. I sometimes use a scene check before I start writing, to inspire the actual writing. Other times I use it when I've got stuck on a scene; completing the list usually gets me going again. And then I sometimes use it when I've written the scene and want to check I've got everything I need in the scene.

This is mine...

Time, season, temperature, weather, lighting.
Location. Things to see. Props. (ie things characters could use, a chair, a mug, a spoon)

Sight. Sound. Smell. Taste. Touch

Symbols and images.

The past: recent (usually, a reference to the previous scene), distant past, memories.

The future: soon (usually a reference to the next scene), events to come.

Characters: Internal - Attitude. Relationships. Feelings. Concerns. Wants. External - clothes, hair, shoes, props.

Dialogue: Subjects. Things not mentioned (ie subtext).

Information (ie things the reader needs to know).

Actions: What happens?

Scene ending (ie does it make reader want to read next scene?)

I go through the list checking that I've included every element in my scene. It sounds a bit mechanical but it's a good way of making sure that you're covering the scene properly.


Pauline Barclay said...

Sara you never fail to inspire. Thank you. x

Sarah Duncan said...

Thanks - glad to help!