Dramatic Conflict in Scenes

All scenes must have DRAMATIC CONFLICT! Without dramatic conflict you have nothing but either exposition or flat conversation. Since the audience is interested in emotional relationships, your conflict should create emotional conflict between characters. Conflict doesn't have to consist of battles, fights or wars. It's the emotional conflict that can have more dramatic impact in a scene than all the explosions and special effects in the world.

Dramatic conflict can involve the main character wanting something and someone standing in the way of him getting what he wants. This adds dramatic tension and suspense to all your scenes. A man driving a car down the street isn't conflict. But a man driving a car with someone holding a gun to his head is dramatic conflict. Without conflict there is no drama.

For every scene you write ask yourself: "What is the dramatic conflict in this scene?"

"What does my main character want in this scene and who is preventing her from getting it?"

If you can't find the answers, don't write the scene. There are scenes that are known as a sequence of scenes. They may be described as chase scenes, where there can be many different locations, but where there is still only one purpose. A great example of a sequence of scenes is the chase scene in Basic Instinct. The purpose of the scenes was for Michael Douglas, playing a detective, to catch the person who just murdered his partner and is now speeding away. The locations throughout San Francisco were varied and there were near misses along the chase, but there still was only one purposeā€”to catch the person, driving the car, who he suspected of murdering his partner.

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