“Scenes” notes from SBWC

From one of the Santa Barbara Writers Conference mystery genre workshops, a couple notes regarding “Scenes.”  I think, in a wider sense, the five points listed below apply to poetry as well as prose.  

A scene is narrative segments that have a shape and every scene must earn its place on the page.   Consider these five points when determining whether to keep or cut:  Purpose.  Direction.  Conflict.  Development.  Closure.

If any of the above are difficult to find in the written scene created, then rethink the work.  If the purpose hasn’t been met, figure out how to meet it.  If the direction meanders to such a degree that it can’t be nailed down, by you, the writer–consider how frustrated your reader will be.   If some conflict, whether internal decision making or external action, whatever, isn’t recognizable, then the prose, while possibly gorgeous and a particular “darling” will lack energy and tension.   Before leaving the scene, check out how well every element has been developed, or over-developed.   Close the scene while the reader is still with you, but bait the hook for what’s to come.