practical experience, FTW
I've always sort of wondered about this too.
There is also the matter of scenes vs. sequels. In a scene a character works toward a goal. A sequel takes place after a scene and involves the character dealing with the consequences of that scene and deciding what their next plan of action will be. This leads into the next scene. At least, that is one way of looking at how scenes fit together, and sequels seem like they would allow for significantly less conflict.
I do wonder if the concept of a character struggling to achieve a goal in every scene is a bit too narrow of a requirement.
figuring it all out
I can't strip away the rest of the scene? I think I could do exactly that if I simply wrote my own version of the scene.
Originally Posted by Little Ming
Imagine that I decided to write a bit of fan fiction with Corwin in it. Let's say that I wanted to introduce him, and show his ability to walk between worlds. To that end, I have him walk through Shadow to the place with the water-wheel, however, in my version, I leave out Dara.
Now I have an opening scene that demonstrates Corwin's cool abilities, and shows the cool world with the colossal water-wheel. So, would that be interesting? For myself, I think that it would. I'm not saying I'd want to see a whole novel with Corwin simply walking around to cool worlds, but I wouldn't have a problem with some scenes like that.
figuring it all out
Yes, the idea that the character must struggle to achieve a goal in every scene is somewhat alien to my natural way of approaching things.
Originally Posted by Hamilton
But I suppose if you redefine "struggle" loosely enough, then it shouldn't be a problem.
If having a character cross the room and look out the window is a "struggle to achieve a goal" then almost anything could fit that definition.
But I'd tend to put a higher bar on what "struggle to achieve a goal" means, and often times I'd end up with scenes which do not fit my definition of that kind of struggle.
If there is major conflict, a major obstacle or problem to overcome, as there is in most genres, every scene likely has either foreground or background conflict. Even a picnic scene is going to be colored by the major conflict of the story.
When life and death events are happening, people do not simply forget about them when they go off on a picnic. The mood and tone of the scene will still reflect the major conflict. The conflict will still be in the character's thoughts, in their movements, in the way they relate to each other.
My own view is that every scene, whether a picnic scene, a love scene, a sex scene, a humorous scene, a character development scene, or whatever, should still be touched by the conflict. Regardless of the scene, the conflict should be there, if only as background radiation.
Personally, no conflict or at least no allusion to conflict bores me to death.