Scene Descriptions

Scenes are the building blocks of novels. That makes them important. You pantsers can ignore this blog. I’m talking about plotting a story out.

I use a form that I created to do this work. The form has a name, or number, something like chapter number, scene number. I list the characters that appear in the scene as well as the point of view character. I have a field for the setting as well. The final field is that of descriptions. This is where I describe what needs to happen in the scene.

You can write these down on index cards, if you want to. Then you can move the action around to see where it might go best. That’s a suggestion. Some people pin these cards to a bulletin board. I use Scrivener, which has cork board feature that’s electronic. But you do it, it can be helpful to have the information at your fingertips or in your eyeliner.

The description can be as detailed as you like. I usually describe the required action in a few sentences. I don’t go into too much detail because the details don’t matter at this point. The details are things that will enhance the action later.

The scene description form isa tool. It’s purpose is to note down the action that you need to have happen in the story. That’sit. Write down the descriptions. You don’t need to note the characters if you don’t want to. I find it helpful. Knowing who’s point of view you should be in for the scene is helpful as well. Of course, if you are planning to stay in a single point of view, you don’t need to note it in the scene description.

You can use the beat sheet to guide you in writing the scene descriptions. I write the scenes associated with the beats. At this point, i don’t note the chapter and scene numbers. Then fill in the scenes between the beats. That’s the beauty of writing scene descriptions. You can write brief descriptions and move the scenes around as needed.
Scene descriptions can help you walk through the plot before writing the story. They flesh out the outline you may have created. I dive into the scene descriptions myself. I know what has to happen and when it needs to happen in the story. Scene descriptions can function like a annotated outline of your story.

Scene descriptions can help guide you in writing your story. If you find yourself stuck anywhere, look at the scene descriptions. They can help you to figure out what you should do next. They are another tool in our writer’s toolbox. Use it if you need to or not, it’s there in case you find it helpful. So try writing some scene descriptions the next time you write a story. Good luck and keep writing.


I am not one who is comfortable talking about myself but here goes. I enjoy writing, family history, and reading. I decided to do this blog because I wanted to try something new. I decided to make it a weekly blog because I wasn't sure that I could keep up with a daily one, and monthly seemed like I was writing a magazine. I think I did ok with my choices. You'll notice that there are not a lot of graphics on my site. That's because there are graphics plastered everywhere on the Internet and those sites sometimes take forever to load. This blog is a place where you can kick back, relax and be ready to be amused. At least I hope I willbamuse you. This blog is on a variety of subjects from my ficitional cat agency, the FFL, which is monthly, to instructional blogs to editorials, which are my opinions only. I admit that I don't know everything and could be wrong -- I frequently am. Now, stop reading about me and read what I have to say!

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Posted in General Opinion, Writing Techniques

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© Lisa Hendrickson and Pebblepup's Writing Den, 2010-2017. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Lisa Hendrickson and Pebblepup's Writing Den with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.
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