I'm taking a one-day workshop next month to learn about techniques for writing a good first scene, and as part of the class, I have to submit my own first scene by Tuesday. I had one ready, but it wasn't anything special so I've been rewriting it. I cast two of the characters in my head, tightened up the language, and added a few more story hints to set the tone of the story.
One big problem is I'm not sure where the scene starts and stops. I drop the reader into the middle of the action and then set the main character in motion. She has mini-goals and I present bigger questions, and it moves along fairly quickly.
My gut says the first three pages are the first scene. Something strange happens, she talks to somebody and then she runs for something. After the running part I *think* a new scene starts. But is it really about location? I don't think so.
Links I've found during my research that are particularly useful get posted to my Facebook page. If you want to follow along subscribe or like or whatever it is we do now.
I'll give you one link for free: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scene_(drama). Wikipedia summarizes Jack Bickham's definition well. He says a scene has a fundamental pattern:
- Statement of a goal
- Introduction and development of conflict
- Failure of the character to reach his goal, a tactical disaster
I don't believe you can subvert a formula until you know how it works and why. So here's to me learning the basics. A little late trumps never, I guess.