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Thursday, August 7, 2014

How to Write a Dramatic Scene


A dramatic scene is four paragraphs, two pages or ten pages but explode onto the page in vivid images. It must have a reason to exist, purpose. A dramatic scene is well thought-out.  A successful dramatic scene happens when opposing forces are in the same space. The opposing forces believe in their position, cause. They resist change and have convincing arguments. Plenty of emotion is stirred into the situation. The encounter of opposing forces gives information, seeks information, informs, convinces, compels, or logic prevails. The final action delivers a winner, loser or quitter.
A sequel follows. The sequel explains how the opposing forces feel, their state of mind which leads to the next scene. Visualize a scene before writing it. Ask questions during the visualizing process. How will opposing forces react to factor A? C? What's at stake? What's the state of mind? How can  you best present a interesting scene?
See the scene from beginning to end in your mind. Act it out, if necessary. Experiment to determine what works best. Don't be afraid to re-write a so-so scene into a scene that spells-out a vivid picture of intent.
Take a look at an example from my book, "Grave Street House," published in 2007. The main character, Amanda, is having another conversation with her cousin, Lena, about dare taking. The story is told from Amanda's point-of-view.
"I didn't mean to spy, but you have another dare going? Let's talk about it."
"Dare is to ask out an older man, nothin' else to talk 'bout."
"Do you and the caller play games like that often?" I sighed.
"Jealous? I bring the only excitement to ya're borin' existence?"
"I'm just trying to help you, Lena."
"Who asked ya?" She snapped. "Ya can't even help ya'reself."
"You're not going to upset me. Don't you feel bad for what happened to Mrs. Rosetti? That alone should make you not want to do another dare."
"If ya hadn't tripped over Mrs. Rosetti's orthopedic shoes she'd never woke-up. It ain't my fault her heart is bad. Last time I wanna hear 'bout that dare. We got one last dare for old time sake. Place of my choice."
"You didn't hear a word I said. No, I don't think so."
"We're both nineteen." I tried to plant doubt. "Don't you think we're too old for childish games?"
"Feel better? Now, the dare: The person that spends two hours in Grave Street House is winner of all time.".
"You nuts? Let me tell you the story of the Kane family. Before you came to live with us nice Mr. Kane lived there, his wife and five-year-old daughter. He stayed to himself, and worked at the factory where Mother retired from. Mrs. Kane was only seen outside shopping or going somewhere in the car with him. She never sat on the porch or walked outside to chat." I took a deep breath and said, "One Halloween night he stabbed her fifty times and killed himself. Their daughter slept through the whole thing."
"But what does that got to do with our dare?"
"You've seen how anyone going in the House is either carried out or changed forever."
"We'll be together."
"I better leave for work."
I couldn't muster up the energy to confront Lena again.
In conclusion, a successful dramatic scene involves opposing forces occupying the same space, in conflict and emotionally charged.
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Marcella Glenn is a freelance writer who has written news reports, worked in an office, reviewed movies, published a newsletter and had her novel, "Grave Street House," published. She, too, is a Writing Consultant as well as a Personal Coach.

She has tried to go down some of life's other paths. A few paths were a mail-order business, the publishing of a pen-pal newsletter and selling plastic-ware. Only, she was back writing before realizing what she was doing.

She'd critique titles, paragraphs, news reports, that no one submitted to her. She'd stop herself, eventually. Marcella Glenn seemed to be enjoying the act of writing. This is how she knew writing was more than a hobby.

Let it be a lesson in your life too. Is writing calling your name? Or, acting? Teaching? Are you interested in engineering? Have the courage to go for your dreams. Simply, believe in yourself.

Meet Marcella Glenn on Twitter:

Grave Street House Interview
Authors Show Radio Announces Interview Lineup For Week Of February 16, 2009
Internet Radio features five new authors each week
February 16, 2009
Every week, The Authors Show, radio version features interviews with up and coming authors from around the world. This week The Authors Show radio features Marcella Glenn, author of  'Grave Street House'.

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