My last post was all about the technique of creating amazing scenes with only 4 to twelve lines. Truth be told, most really amazing scenes only need eight. Take this scene from Hunger Games: Catching Fire. In this scene, Katniss says goodbye to a dear friend. Within these eight lines, they
- convey a sense of amazing love for one anther
- without saying it, they make clear how dangerous the situation is
- are pressed for time (there is an authoritative voice that keeps reminding them of the number of seconds they have remaining).
The technique of using “time” as a way of creating tension is really important in writing any scene and can’t be stated enough. So can you create a scene that is this intense and meaningful today? Keep in mind, the key ingredients are “time”, “danger”, and “losing something or someone that you love”. Also, lets not forget about the fact that Katniss is watching helplessly as her close friend is beaten to death. Is this an amazing way of creating tension? Hell, yeah!
If you want to see the scene that I am referring to, either click here or go to youtube and search, “Catching Fire – Cinna’s Death”.
And that is how you create scenes that people can not stop reading. Keep in mind, brevity is your friend. Also, tension keeps people focused and wanting more.
How can you add tension? Eminent danger is tension. Time is tension. Sexual tension is always fun for an audience or a reader, too. Adding a gun or pointing a weapon is instant tension and the object is forever, “charged” (meaning, the audience will always be aware of where it is whether you want them to or not). And last but not least, the tension of being misunderstood. A perfect example of this type of tension is when August Wilson started the play, GEM OF THE OCEAN, with a character on the run from the law because he was accused of a murder that he claims that he didn’t commit. Now that’s a misunderstanding that gets people to pay attention.
Now go and write something awesome today!