The test of a good scene
As we work to move a book toward completion, there’s always room for discovery. Scenes that worked in a previous draft may need drastic revision or cutting as the true shape of the story becomes clear. But how do you know when and where to apply the knife? For a scene to warrant inclusion in the final draft, along with containing good dialogue and description, it needs to meet three essential story telling criteria: 1) the scene must deepen (or at least not conflict with) a reader’s understanding of the back story; 2) it must illuminate the character’s personality; and 3) the scene’s details of plot must reinforce our movement toward the climax. Neglect any one of these features and we immediately risk having the reader’s interest sag or expire.