So today's post is on making your scenes do double duty in your story. To go with that theme, my examples will have the double duty explaining the introduction of characters.
I love The Goonies. When ever the movie is on tv, I make sure I can watch it by either stopping what I'm doing or begging my family to watch it instead of Spongebob or Pawn Shop. It has been a favorite of mine since I was little, curling up on the couch with my younger brother for the adventure. Now, when I watch it, I can not stop thinking of how it is a perfect example for a lot of story building lessons. So I am going to use some today.
Scenes must always give something to a story. They can move the story along, add something to a character, tell a bit of information, but they must have a point. Throwing in a scene with aircraft in a novel revolving around a sewing circle will only confuse and hinder the read unless it means something. Not only that, but it has to obvious. The aircraft would make sense if it were a flashback, revealing a characters pain and/or lose.
The best scenarios are the ones that serve two purposes. Drive the story: Present a character. Give information: Describe the setting. The following examples from The Goonies show a scene doing two things, one of which being the presentation of a character.
-Ex. 1 The beginning of The Goonies starts with introducing Chuck's character. It also shows how he will be treated by the other characters through out the rest of the movie. Chuck shows up and his friend's house (Mikey) and is locked outside the gate. He begins shouting in the most obnoxious manner to be let in. Instead of simply opening the gate, his friends make him do a dance first.
-EX. 2 Data is introduced as an inventor and a klutz. It set the stage for a all the trouble he would later cause and also the ways that he would get out of them. This is done when Data slides down "zip line" that he hung between his house and that of Mikey's. He promptly then crashed in through a screen door and broke a statue.
-EX. 3 Mikey first shows his leadership of the group when he convinces Mouth to stop harassing Chuck and also tries to worn Data about the screen while everyone else simply watched.
When Mikey's Mom says that their are clothes in a dresser that need to be packed, Mouth translates that the drugs need to be packed and she must make sure they stay separate. The Mikey's Mom says to stay out of the attic because her husband museum pieces are up there, Mouth says to stay out because that is where the husband keeps his torture devises.
Through out this entire scene, we meet the characters, learn their special skills, and find out what will drive the heroes through their adventure. As they talk, they reveal that their neighborhood is going to be demolished and this will be one of the last times they hangout. The attic is also mentioned, which is where they find the treasure map that they use and Mouth reads.
This scene did a lot for the story. Not all scenes need to cover this much, but they should cover a good amount, so as to keep the story from lagging.