Writing for the 21st Century

Ms. Gokturk


What should our scenes contain?


The purpose of a scene is to:

  • Develop characterization
  • Introduce and/or develop the conflict
  • Carry significant action
  • Build suspense




  • You canít include everything, so choose elements and dialogue that drive the action forward.
  • Each scene must have a location.
  • Each scene must have stage directions.
  • Have a clear protagonist and antagonist.
  • Ask yourself, what does each scene teach the audience?
  • There may a time lapse between scenes, but it must be indicated through dialogue, directions, and acting, NOT through narration.
  • Each character must WANT something in each scene, but there should be an obstacle? Use that to drive the play forward. This builds suspense.
  • Characters must be motivated by their wants. Realistic dialogue and stage directions are vital. Take the following dialogue:


A: Hello. How are you?

B: Iím fine.

A: What are you doing tonight?

B: I have plans.

A: Oh, do you? I thought we could get together.

B. Maybe another time.


Now, imagine the following three scenarios:


  1. A wants to be Bís lover, but B wants to do HW.
  2. A wants to kill B, but B wants to make an important phone call.
  3. A wants to get together as friends, but B wants to be left alone because he/she doesnítreally like A.


How could the dialogue be enhanced with stage directions for the actors to reveal these motivations subtly, without giving it all away? In other words, instead of coming right out and saying A wants to be a lover, how can you reveal it? The audience will be bored if the characters say, ďI want to be your lover.Ē Thatís not realisticÖ


YOUR MISSION: Before you continue to write your play, list each characterís WANT(S) & OBSTACLE on loose-leaf. Please hand in to Ms. G and then you can go to the lab to continue your play!