Setting the scene — it’s a cliché, but a necessary part of writing an effective story. However, don’t confuse the setting for the scene. Technically, a scene is a series of continuous events connected by time, place, or the characters depicted.

The alternate definition of scene as a synonym for setting is not what this essay explores.

The easiest way to explain a scene is to consider the term as used in stage and screen. In those media a scene is demarcated by clear cues: the lighting changes on stage, the images “transition” on screen, and often the music changes in a film. It is difficult to miss the scene markers in visual media.

What a Scene Is

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Where to Learn More

If you want to learn about scene construction, we encourage you to read books on dramatic (theatrical) writing.

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Writer: C. S. Wyatt
Updated: 21-Oct-2017
Editor: S. D. Schnelbach