Every novelist wants to write a page turner. In order to do that, writers must infuse each scene with opposition: the friction, obstacles, and conflicts which characters encounter as they try to meet their goals. What conflicts will Lillie meet in trying to meet her goal? In the South in the 1950's she will meet plenty and she will need strategies--ways to get around the opposition-to turn her dreams into reality.
But, as writers we don't want our characters to immediately achieve their goals--the book wouldn't be a page turner if we did that! So, each scene also needs swings; shifts in strategy when the character is trying to achieve her goal.
Beats are emotional and psychological turns which the character must take in order to meet her goal. In other words, what changes will Lillie face--what sacrifices might she have to make--in order to accomplish her goal? She and I are still figuring that out.
Finally, each scene needs an outcome. "Most scenes should create a need for another scene. The thing that the character thought she wanted will come at a cost and create complications," Lorin said. "It'll be 'yes, but no.'"
Breaking down my book into scenes has helped me tremendously. You can create note cards using these headings, as well as any other scene elements you would like to include, print them on card stock, and fill out one per scene.
Next week we'll look at building imaginary worlds and tight queries.
Scene Response Sheet