What makes a satisfying scene?

Forums Fiction General Writing Discussions What makes a satisfying scene?

This topic contains 6 replies, has 5 voices, and was last updated by  Kayla Skywriter 23 hours, 44 minutes ago.

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    The Fledgling Artist

    Hello friends.
    Any general advice on how to make each individual scene in any given project feel satisfying? My question is pretty much summed up in the title. xD Any thoughts guys? What makes a scene feel satisfying? On the flip, what things should I watch out for that can make a scene fall flat?

    @ummm…. Anyone/everyone ? : D

    "Though I'm not yet who I will be, I'm no longer who I was."



    A satisfying scene to me as a reader is one that keeps me engaged. It has a purpose, it has a growing plot… while answering one question, gives me more, keeping the suspense and my interest. Each chapter should have it’s own small development, either of the problem, the characters, the situation, the world. It has interesting characters who interact, who each have their own motives and problems and hopes.

    I’m not sure if that was the kind of answer you were looking for… ūüėõ


    Ariel Ashira

    I cant remember who said this, but i learned that the character needs to have a motivation in every scene.¬† It wont be so flat if the character has a purpose or reason for being there or doing whatever.¬† That has really helped me.¬† I’d suggest reading articles on the article catagories, too.

    "No matter how much it hurts, how dark it gets, or how hard you fall, you are never out of the fight."


    Sarah Inkdragon

    Okay, so there’s a few things I like to keep in mind when writing a scene, or reading/analyzing a scene from a book(or movie).

    1. What purpose does the scene have? Is it asking a question, resolving a question, creating conflict, introducing a character, letting us get to know an introduced character better, giving us the protagonist’s perspective on something, etc.? A scene must have a purpose. Where a lot of movies or books start to bore me is when they start to get bogged down with scenes that are cool, but don’t really add much to the story. That’s one reason I liked Avengers: Endgame so much more than Avengers: Infinity War, for example. In Endgame, we didn’t have time for extra scenes that were just popped in for humor. Sure, there were some scenes that didn’t seem to have much plot relevance, but there was always something happening in those scenes that added to the movie. Infinity War, while good, had a few scenes that began to lose me because they weren’t really adding anything to the plot or characters.

    The same goes for scenes that are character based. Look, we all love making our characters cry, or go through pain, but if you’re just adding in scenes of this throughout the book and they don’t have any specific purpose or effect on the character other than that one moment, they’re useless. They may invoke a small amount of emotion in your readers while reading them, but they don’t carry the emotional weight and relevance that a carefully built up scene has.

    Every good scene must have something happening in it–either physically, emotionally, or mentally that will effect the character or plot in some way. Even humor has purpose–remember, the characters aren’t aware they’re trying to also amuse an audience. Their humor is for themselves only in their minds, so there is always a reason for them to be cracking a funny joke or two. Marvel has worked humor in well to their stories by using it to both entertain the audience, but also relax tension in the characters and add personality. Think back to the last Avengers movie you watched–every character has a unique voice of humor and uses it for different purposes.

    2. New Ideas.¬† A good scene must introduce or build upon something that has yet to be introduced, is being introduced, or has been introduced and needs to be expanded. For example, you might be introducing a character, or introducing a character’s thoughts on a subject. You might be introducing a new turn to a mystery, or a new hunch the characters have. You might just simply be introducing a new action the character(s) are making. You might be building upon a character or thing that has already been introduced, giving us more information on them. You might be hinting at the introduction of a key plot point. Each scene much tell us something that we didn’t know before, or add some new dimension to something we already know.

    Think about it. In any good book or movie that you love, when does an action or scene ever really repeat itself? An author or character may say or do the same thing twice, but it’s rarely in the same context. He may remind himself of something, but be wary with constantly having the character remind himself of something. This is a method used to be sure the reader is clear on the subject, but people are incredibly good at remembering things that you previously hint are important. If you repeat it, you risk boring the reader with the incessant repetition.

    As a closing note, these aren’t concrete laws on how to make a good scene. These are just things I’ve observed while reading, writing, and analyzing books and movies, and I hope they help you!

    Once, when I was a child, I opened a book--and found a whole new world.


    Ariel Ashira

    @sarah-inkdragon  good advise!  Im taking notes too!

    Aw, Fledging I love your signature!

    "No matter how much it hurts, how dark it gets, or how hard you fall, you are never out of the fight."


    The Fledgling Artist

    Haha, Thanks for all the thoughts! They are very helpful. I’m wondering if maybe my problem is more a result of writing random scenes that don’t actually string together for a larger story… Hence making it difficult to build up to anything? Mehaps it’s time for me to stop floundering around and crack down on a story. :’ )

    @sarah-inkdragon Thank you for putting so much thought into your answer! All very helpful. Though something you said reminds me of another question that’s been on my mind for a bit.

    How do you go about building up to an emotional scene? What does it look like to build up to the release of character/emotional tension? Maybe it’s just something I have to intuitively figure out, but I’ve been wondering about this for a while now. xD

    Aww thanks! It’s a paraphrase of something I read in a book recently..ish. It really resonates with me.
    I like your signature quote too!

    "Though I'm not yet who I will be, I'm no longer who I was."


    Kayla Skywriter

      Hi everyone. I am a novice and still learning so I won’t even attempt to even go into a long (yet helpful) rant.

      This is all I have to say.

      I see that everyone has mentioned that the scene must have purpose. The best way I have of thinking of this is asking yourself: Out of all the things that have happened to my character why am I sharing this one?

      If this is wrong please correct me, I’m just here to learn.

      How we chose to fight is just as important as what we fight for

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