scenes

by Devon
(Athens)

Hi your site is wonderful. I've learned so much. My question is if I'm planning for sixteen chapters and I have 4 scenes should there be one scene per chapter? Something else that I'm confused about is how you come up with 48-60 scenes. I did all the sign posts, but I only have 4 scenes. I hope this makes sense.


Answer: I like to think in terms of events rather than scenes. A scene is defined as a block of continuous action at a particular location, whereas an event is defined as a significant change that sends the characters in a new direction. So a signpost is an event.

These definitions matter because sometimes one scene can contain a number of events. This is often true in plays where all the action takes place in one location using one set. It's also true that an event can involve action simultaneously taking place at several locations (therefore, several scenes). You see this frequently in film.

Of course, you are also free to have just one event per scene. This makes things easy, but it means writing a greater number of scenes.

If you were to write each signpost as one scene, 4 signposts x 4 throughlines = 16 scenes.

On the other hand, if you decide to develop each signpost into a sequence of 4 events, then 16 signposts x 4 would give you 64 events or scenes.

Of course, you may not need to make each signpost into a sequence. Some might just be single events. On the other hand, sequences can consist of anywhere from 3 to 8 events, depending how much you want to develop them. Three events per signpost would give you 48 scenes (16 x 3).

The point is... it's your choice how you want to develop your signposts. Dramatica simply suggests that they all be there for your story to feel complete.

As for chapters, it often makes sense to insert a chapter break after one event has completed and the reader is looking forward to what the next event will be. However, if you have an extremely long event, you may need to spread it out over more than one chapter. Long events tend to have their own four-part structure, just like a sequence, so there are places where it feels more natural for a break to occur.

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