Scene Writing Questions

I'm busy editing again, and this means completely overhauling some scenes, either because the POV has to change, or the scene has to do something different.

I realised I had no idea how to do this properly, but while I was procrastinating on actually doing it, I scribbled down some lists of questions under different headings. My theory is, when I have good answers to these questions, I will know how to proceed.

Here goes:


Who are these people in the scene? How do they feel? What do they want? What do they choose? How do they act? How do they react?


What is here in the scene? What can we see, smell, hear? What changes? What is added? What is removed? What is revealed?


What matters? Where is attention focused at each beat of the scene?


Where are we? Where do we go?


When is this, relative to the previous and following scenes? When is it relative to when it's being narrated? What tense are we in? How does time pass?


What is this scene for? What are we setting up for later? What are we paying off from earlier? What questions is the reader asking? What answers are we giving them?


How are we going to meet the “why”? What techniques or moves are going to create the effect we want?

I guess that last bit is the hard one. But you can get quite far attacking whichever item on the checklist unblocks you from the bit you're stuck on now.