6 rules for writing scenes

By | November 17, 2022

Good stuff, explaining the six rules that every scene in a novel should have.

We start by dividing each scene into two parts: scene (action) and sequel (reaction). We then further divide each of those halves into three more pieces each:


  1. Goal (the protagonist or POV character sets out to accomplish or gain something).
  2. Conflict (en route to his goal, his efforts are blocked by an obstacle of some type).
  3. Disaster (the character’s attempt to gain his goal is at least partially stymied, forcing him to move forward on the diagonal, instead of rushing straight ahead through the plot).


  1. Reaction (the character must then react, however briefly or lengthily, to the previous disaster—this is where the vast majority of character development will take place).
  2. Dilemma (as the result of the disaster, the character is confronted with a new complication or dilemma in his attempt to reach his main story goal).
  3. Decision (the character comes to a decision about how best to act, prompting a new goal in the next scene).

Source: 7 Questions You Have About Scenes vs. Chapters – Helping Writers Become Authors

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