Too many writers flounder when identifying the purpose of a specific scene.
You’ve likely heard that a scene should either advance the plot, reveal character, or both. This is good advice, but too vague to put into practice.
You want strong pacing, showing rather than telling, and to create empathy for your protagonist. Plus, you want mystery and conflict in every scene to keep readers turning the pages.
So, the purpose of the scene is key.
In life, things happen, we react, process what happened, and decide on new action. So it’s action-reaction-process-decide-new action.
HERE’S YOUR HOMEWORK:
Write one sentence that encapsulates that for each scene in your story.
For instance, a scene I’m working on for my new mystery novel that marks the midpoint of my novel. Its purpose is to show my protagonist, Christy, realizing that a red herring clue has led her off the path of the real “who-done-it”.
I fix that in my mind and make sure every element of my scene serves that purpose.
If you can’t identify the purpose for your scene, throw it out and come up with one that works.