Make each scene matter

Even more love for Lisa Cron‘s book Story Genius: How to Use Brain Science to Go Beyond Outlining and Write a Riveting Novel, but today we’re going to be talking about scenes. How to make scenes matter and how to make them have meaning by being part of a cause-and-effect trajectory that will build your story. No more individual scenes that don’t help guide your protagonist to their end goal.

How do we do this? Scene cards. And they’re going to prompt you and remind you to answer important questions that link your plot to your story, every single time. I’ll post my own examples on my Patreon soon, but here’s a blueprint similar to the example Lisa provides in her book. I hope it’s helpful.

Scene #1: Name of scene
Alpha Point: The key role the scene will play in your webtoon/novel/project’s external cause-and-effect trajectory. It must answer: Why is this scene necessary? What’s its main job?

THE PLOTWhat happens
• What happens in the first half of the scene
The consequence
• External consequence of what happens in the scene–the consequence of what happens in the scene itself—not the consequence it will have in the next scene.
THE THIRD RAILWhy it matters to their misbelief
• Why what’s happening matters to your protagonist, given their agenda
The realization
• The internal change, the realization that the event triggers for the protagonist (or the scene’s POV character and also the protagonist when they find out later).

• Your protagonist’s worldview must change even a little bit in every scene.

And so?
• The action that happens as a result of what occurred in the scene

Reminders: The plot is the sequence of events that helps you tell the story. The ‘third rail‘ is the terminology Lisa uses to describe the protagonist’s internal struggle. Isn’t it lovely how they’re always tied together here? Cause and effect, it’s flawless, and it’s been so helpful to me in polishing off my episodes. Let me know if you have any questions, good luck!

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