So how do we bring all this together to write a scene?

We have our story ingredients:

  • Main character who has suffered.
  • Secondary character who cares.
  • A request.
  • A change.

In writing the scene we want to:

  • Go through 4-5 small loops.
  • Describe feelings and thoughts but not get bogged down in either of them, instead hang back and leave a little space.
  • Uses relatively understated word choices—don't strain too hard.
  • Emphasise the gentleness of the carer to contrast with the suffering.

Here's an example that attempts to do this. 

How well do you think it works?

Daniel watched the red and blue lights on the green wall above the TV. He hadn't moved.

"We've put the gun in a bag, and we've put the bag in a car, okay?" said the man standing just out of sight. "Do you hear me, Daniel?"

"Yes," Daniel said quietly. His voice was scratchy, almost a whisper.

Behind him, just over his shoulder, he could feel the hole in the bedroom wall. When the police lights flashed, he could see himself reflected in the picture frame above the TV, with the hole above him like an asterisk.

The man patted him on that same shoulder. "I know you feel terrible, Daniel," the man said. "I know it was an accident. And I know you don't want to leave him, but I need you to come with me. Okay?"

The man put handcuffs on his wrists, gently.

"Don't mind these," he said. "This is just what we have to do in a situation like this."

They walked out the front door, past more police on their way in, and ambulance drivers with a stretcher. They were so ordinary and business-like, like kids working at McDonald's. They didn't even look at Daniel; they were busy doing their jobs.

The man walked Daniel along the drive towards a car which already had the door open. Neighbours had all come out and were standing around some undefined perimeter, watching with horror. One lady had her hand on her mouth. Daniel knew that behind him they could see the bedroom window, lit from within, and that in the glowing curtain would be silhouettes of police, bending and rising.

Flowing between the neighbours and the house he felt a deep current, and now he was in it, and his knees buckled.

The man put his hand on Daniel's back. "Steady," he said. "Keep walking."

Daniel stumbled to the car. The man protected his head as Daniel folded himself into the backseat.

It was good in the back. It was dark, it was small. The man leaned over the doorway, blocking the light. "Okay," he said, sadly. "Alright." He looked at Daniel with a face full of shadow.

And then he closed the door.

How did this make you feel? (Why?)

It's dark and the main character is passive.

When you write your own version, you don't have to be dark and your main character doesn't have to be so passive. 

Watership Down, for instance, is joyful and Hazel is active even though he is following the stranger.

Just something to keep in mind!