The Decision Scene

The decision scene in Stand by Me.
The decision scene is in full displays in Stand by Me.

Are you struggling to make your story feel authentic and engaging? Then look no further! One of the keys to powerful plots lies in mastering how to craft the realisation-decision-action scene triad, as humans are wired to think and act in this order.

According to Linda Seger’s Advanced Screenwriting, not inserting a decision scene between a realisation scene and an action scene can make the story appear forced, disconnected from the plot, and without depth. A decision scene provides the reasoning and motivation behind a character’s actions, making them feel more genuine and relatable.

Think of Chuck Nolan discovering the plastic door in Castaway, or Vern and the boys deciding to investigate the dead body in Stand by Me, or the nurse in The English Patient making the decision to stay behind. These decisions lead to significant plot development and create an air of authenticity that draws the audience in.

“A decision ought to follow a realisation and lead to action showing the outcome of that decision.”

A decision, then, involves a character or characters inspecting, investigating, questioning or simply observing, before coming to a decision. This leads to action being taken directly after as a result.

So, if you want to take your story to the next level, make sure to include a decision scene between the realisation and action scenes.


A decision scene follows a realisation and provides the reason for the action that follows it. It grants your story verisimilitude.

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