Buddha said, “Nothing is forever except change.” In other words, the only thing that doesn’t change is that everything always changes. And that’s why we have stories.
They show what it feels like to go through all the tumultuous adventures of life. They show what it means. Or in the case of self help, they guide us through that transformation.
A good book is a tale of change.
That’s why I want to talk about scenes! Writing vivid scenes turns regular information into an experience.
If you’re writing from life, carefully choose the moments and events that help you illustrate your points. After all, stories are made up of humans and the decisions they make in specific circumstances. That’s why a good scene has a basic formula.
Action > Reaction > Reaction (etc.) > Change
I call this character karma. Nothing defines a character more than their actions. Not even words, because words can be lies and a lie is an action which defines a character more than the words themselves.
But I digress. Let’s move this into action so you try this out for yourself! Also, if you’re writing nonfiction, don’t shy away from this exercise. All writing is a representation of the truth, it’s alright to take a little creative license in the interest of expressing your point.
Before you dive into doing this for yourself, you might find it fun to start by making a model. Pick your favorite movie and take note of the various parts of a scene.
A. Scene title (just make one up).
B. What’s the first major action that sets the scene in motion?
C. What changed?
D. What’s the new situation at the end of the scene?
This may seem very simple, but it reinforces so much momentum in your writing. If you make sure that something changes in every scene, you will keep the reader engaged.
As the author, you are the grand puppet master in command of the complex process of actions and reactions between multiple characters and situations. You have to simultaneously understand the immediate and inevitable consequences of all your characters’ karma. You’re at the helm of their destiny.