Task #10: Structuring Dramatic Action

Task #10: Structuring Dramatic Action

This activity may make you think about how you might approach writing a scene. As I have mentioned in previous blogs, the bedrock of drama is objectives and obstacles. (A character wants something and another character standing in their way.) However, the scene might get a bit repetitive if a character enters asks for the same thing repeatedly before leaving so you may consider all the small little tactics a character may employ to get what they want.

The Task

For this activity you will need post-it notes or small scraps of paper. Whatever is easiest for you. I’m going to set a scenario, but you can use this for any idea you have.

In our example scenario our character wants to ask another character out on a date.

Start by writing down all the tactics your character could employ to get someone to go on date with them. Write one tactic on each post-it or piece of paper. I’ve written a short list here, but you will most likely think of many more.

Ask them outright – “Would you like to go for a coffee with me?”

Flattering them

Impressing them

Finding out if they already have a partner

Charming them

Being self-deprecating

Once you’ve got all your tactics, try arranging them in different orders. You could put them in order of worst idea to best idea, most/least honest or order of risk to your protagonist.

I have arranged my list in order of risk:

  1. Finding out if they are in a relationship
  2. Flattering them
  3. Charming them
  4. Being self-deprecating
  5. Impressing them
  6. Ask them outright – “Would you like to go for a coffee with me?”

I’ve put “asking them outright” as high risk because up to this point my character can still pretend, they’re not trying to ask them out. To admit they’re interested could result in rejection. I’ve put “finding out if they are in a relationship” as low risk as it could be done subtly and not result our protagonist feeling embarrassed.

Write the scene using the order you chose. Remember that for your character obstacles can be the other person, the environment or themselves.  They could attempt to flatter but say something embarrassing, they could be self-deprecating, and the other person could just agree.

If you don’t want to use my scenario you can invent any of your own. Just ensure that a character wants something from another character.