Two: Scene and Plot.

In Scene and Plot, the writers generate key scenes to anchor their three-act structure. Act Two, for example, is anchored by two “plot point” scenes: plot point one ends Act One; plot point two ends Act Two. Generating scenes for the core story helps writers find their own voice. Voice is the first predictor of form. In Cain’s opening to Postman, Frank Chambers says: “They threw me off the haytruck about noon.” The story starts inside the mind of the stranger. Writers who start in First Person have chosen fiction (novel, novella, short story), a form that allows the writer to horse around with time: “I had swung on the night before, down at the border, and as soon as I got up there under the canvas, I went to sleep.”

Writers who complete the second course in Story Development will exit with six key scenes (opener, plot point one, midpoint, plot point two, climax, and wrap up); solid plot synopses of Acts One, Two, and Three; a back story that explores the past of the protagonist in some detail; and a list of scenes which, if not quite complete, spans the plot from start to finish. To prepare for the third course, Form, writers should rewrite scenes in sequence (8-10 scenes to complete Act One, for example) while they continue the search for voice.

Links to course outline for Scene & Plot and previous Sessions: