The Function of a Scene: To Build Tension

So far we’ve discussed two functions of a good scene:

1) A good scene reveals character.

2) A good scene advances the plot. 

Today we’ll discuss the third function of a good scene: to build tension. 

How does a scene build tension? In at least two ways: by building inner tension and outer tension. 

Inner tension is that tension contained within the scene itself. Outer tension is that tension that relates to the overall tension of your story.  A scene’s outer tension is connected to what goes before it and what comes after it. 

When writing your scenes, put conflict into them. Your main character’s problem should grow worse during each scene. Thsi will greatly contribute not only to the tension of your scene, but also to the tension of your story.

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2 thoughts on “The Function of a Scene: To Build Tension

  1. Tension implicates something is wrong, but it doesn’t have to be that way. Tension can simply be a hard decision your character has to make, or even something that is anticipated.

    What we want is to raise emotions and keep the reader with us.

    February 4, 2011 at 12:33 PM