A scene does not exist in isolation, rather, it is part of a set of causally connected scenes that make up the story.
In Making a Good Script Great Linda Seger stresses that it is far more effective to think of a scene as being a member of a scene sequence—scenes that are so tightly connected to one another that they create single narrative blocks within the story.
These sequences might be chase scenes in a city that get progressively shorter until they end in a car crash or getaway; they may build up to the final explosion in The Guns of Navarone; they might culminate in two lovers reuniting as in When Harry met Sally.
“Causally connected scenes are an antidote to a slackening of interest due to a meandering narrative.”
In The Fugitive the first sequence of scenes might be called murder and the sentencing. It forms a tight causal unit that spans eleven minutes. The next sequence could be called the escape, leading to the train wreck. The sequence following that could be labeled after him and include the scenes of Deputy Sam Gerard starting the chase, culminating in Kimble arriving in Chicago.
The point is that all these scenes are linked by cause and effect, or, at least, action and consequence, that allows no room for loose or weakly connected events.
In my novel, The Level, the protagonist finds himself bound to a sturdy chair in a pitch-black room. To make matters worse he is suffering from amnesia and has no clue how he got there.
Later, a mysterious woman carrying a lantern appears from the darkness, unties him and gives him a series of clues to follow in order to escape.
The story is a connect-the-pieces puzzle, fraught with dangerous pit-falls that threaten the protagonist’s every step. Indeed, the entire story is driven by causally connected scene sequences, each of which reveals a part of the puzzle. This serves to maintain the readers’ interest.
Organise your story into causally connected scenes in order to drive the action and avoid a slackening in your narrative.
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