Chapter 3Organizing Action in a Dramatic Scene

What distinguishes a dramatic scene from other scenes? An important difference is that in a dramatic scene one character always has a strong want that the other character or characters in the scene are opposed to. I often liken dramatic scenes to a tennis match or an arm wrestling contest. In an effective dramatic scene a question is raised—will such and such a character get what they want, or will they be defeated? This leads to conflict, the essence of drama. Much of the action in such a scene is usually contained in dialogue, though there are exceptions, and much of the character’s reactions are psychological (taking place inside the character’s head). Therefore it is important that the articulation ...

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