Our sample scene is the opening scene in my story. That will affect some of the answers, but for the most part, it should all still apply. Let’s jump in:
What is the primary piece of story exposition in this scene?
Mirian’s sacrifice, it’s excessiveness, and her zeal for her religion.
Does that information move the story forward, or is it a side trip?
Yes. It is introducing Mirian, and establishing a baseline for her character’s starting point
Does the new info require any foreshadowing or setup from prior scenes?
No. There are no prior scenes.
Does the scene open with something clever, poignant, surprising, or interesting?
Well, sort of. It could be a lot better though.
What is the precise moment – in action, dialog, or other narrative context – at which the scene’s payoff will be exposed?
Knife through the hand, baby!
What is the latest moment you can enter the scene without compromising the info or the potential for dramatic experience in the delivery?
Right before the stabbing. There needs to be some lead in to show what is happening, but really anything not related to getting stabbed probably doesn’t need to be in place before it happens.
Does the scene have it’s own tension, stakes, and flow?
Um, well… I’m not exactly sure. I think it sort of does, but it needs more drama building up to “the event”.
What is the reader experiencing — feeling, understanding, clarifying, or other emotion — as the scene unfolds?
Shock at the stabbing. Understanding Mirian’s intensity of devotion.
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That is where we will leave it for tonight. Next installment will answer the last six questions. After that, we will begin walking through the first draft and marking up the text to make it better.