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Writing Blockbuster Plots by Martha Alderson

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Chapter Twenty-One

The Dramatic Action Column

Moment-by-moment dramatic action makes up the next layer of scene. Dramatic action is one of the three primary plotlines and is a major essential element in developing scenes.

Embedded within this layer ideally lies a layer (or two or three or four) of conflict, tension, suspense, and curiosity. I say “ideally” because though the column is labeled “dramatic action” to emphasize the importance of keeping the action exciting, not all action in every scene is dramatic.

The Dramatic Action Column does not ask you to determine whether the action in the scene is dramatic. Simply note what action happens in the scene, whether passive or dramatic, or above the line or below the line. If the scene consists ...

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