E03 – The Scene Rubric (video, show notes, transcript)
In this episode, V.E. Griffith and Miss Catherine M.H. introduce the fundamentals of the Revision Wizards Scene Rubric, and how it can help you write and revise your work.
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The Revision Wizards are at https://www.revisionwizards.com
V.E. Griffith’s website: https://www.vegriffith.com
Miss Catherine M.H.’s website: https://www.scribes-pen.com
Transcript at: https://revisionwizards.com/?p=2060
Miss Catherine M.H. 0:01
Welcome to the Revision Wizards podcast. I’m Miss Catherine M H. And this guy over here is VE Griffith. This episode is number three. And today we’re going to be talking about the Revision Wizards Scene Rubric. So why don’t you tell me what is the scene rubric.
V.E. Griffith 0:19
Rubrics come from the world of education. They’re a written document that outlines what good work is versus what underdeveloped work is. So for example, in a history class, the rubric for an exam might specify that the student must discuss certain topics or events. And that missing those topics in a final exam gets you a lower grade. It allows an instructor to be more objective when looking at written work instead of being vague and unhelpful to students. So we can use that same idea in our fiction, what is good fiction look like, objectively? Can we write that down? Can we share that with other authors. So the revision wizard scene rubric attempts to do that, it’s divided into a bunch of sections, and we’re going to talk about them over several episodes, you can find the one we’re using at revisionwizards.com. It’s in the top menu, in a link that says scene rubric, and you’ll get a choice for a Word document or a PDF. It’s free for anybody to use abuse, remix, giveaway, sell, or anything else you want to do with it. So please take a look.
Miss Catherine M.H. 1:26
So today, we’re going to be talking about what we consider the most important parts of the rubric. And that would be the three story method version that we both learned. So that is conflict, choice and consequence. Take it away.
V.E. Griffith 1:41
Okay, conflict, the conflict is the major driving force of the story. It’s what pushes the protagonist out of the every day and into the story. You can have both a scene level conflict and a story level conflict. And at times, they will be different. But it’s important that every scene and every story have a conflict that pushes characters to make choices, and drive the story. And beyond that, the inciting incident at the beginning of the story doesn’t necessarily have to relate to the conflict, it can just be a catalyst for things to get started. So for example, let’s say our protagonist stumbles across a murder scene, and that causes all kinds of havoc and attracts the police. That’s the inciting incident at the story and the scene level. But as the scene plays out, we learn that the story level conflict isn’t going to be the murderer. It’s going to be the relationship between the protagonist and the antagonist. The relationship has nothing to do with the murder, but it drives the characters actions and feelings. So a good conflict is going to be relatively easy for the reader to identify it’s going to be well developed, and it’s going to be firm and drive the characters actions and force them to make choices.
Miss Catherine M.H. 3:11
Speaking of those choices, there are two types of choices. The in reconcilable
V.E. Griffith 3:18
Miss Catherine M.H. 3:21
Thanks irreconcilable good. So that’s having to pick between two good choices, and never being able to go back to find out what the other scenario would have been. So some examples would be, I take one international trip, but I can’t afford two. Do I go to Japan? Or do I go to Italy? So as you can see, they’re both pretty good. You can only pick one different example would be, I can stay married for a great deal of money. Do I let him live longer and get more money? Or do I kill him now and get money in sympathy as a new widow? Different ideas,
V.E. Griffith 4:03
Miss Catherine M.H. 4:04
Now the other way? Hey, now you never know what kind of story people are going to be writing. So the other way that you can have a choice is the best bad choice. And this is picking between you guessed it, two bad choices in order to move forward. It’s a lose lose situation. So an example a car is going to hit an old lady or a child. I can save one, but not both. So who do you pick the old granny who will probably make you more cookies or the little kid who you get to yell at to stay off your lawn later on. A different example would be Can I either drink the poison and ruin my husband? Or I can kill his mistress with the poison and watch him suffer. So either way, that’s kind of a lose lose situation. So, there is, of course, a third choice. There’s the yes Dear or you’re always right. But in all seriousness, these are the options most writers come up with. Sometimes the choice is blaring, and it screams to be picked in neon arrows pointing at it. And other times the choice can be simple and quick, without much thought at all. So really to understand, if the choice is underdeveloped, you’d kind of be looking at is the character just going along with the world isn’t really even making the choice? Someone else is doing it for them? And they’re just there for the ride? Or is the character being like, Oh, my God, what choice do I make? Where do I go? And they have to decide it, and the reader is sitting on the edge of their seat being like, Oh, my God, what choice are they going to make? That’s the difference between “eh” choice and a really good choice. And those choices always lead to consequences.
V.E. Griffith 5:57
So what event kind of occurs because of the protagonist choice, that’s the consequence. What is the logical follow on for that, in an underdeveloped consequence, the outcome of the choice is predictable, it’s boring, it flows from the choice that isn’t difficult, or that isn’t really a choice at all. And so it becomes unsatisfying to the reader. An excellent consequences a combination of both surprising and inevitable, the reader doesn’t see the consequence coming. But once it hits them, they realized they should have seen it all along. And that kind of an ending is always fulfilling to the reader, it keeps them coming back to your work, because they know they’re going to get a good story with a good surprise ending.
Miss Catherine M.H. 6:52
Now do remember that not every scene needs to have a perfect score when it comes to the three C’s. Sometimes the scene is just a scene that’s trying to get you to the oh my god, look at that choice scene. And you still have the little stuff that’s happening in between. So don’t fret if all of a sudden you’re like not every scene, is that sitting on the edge? Because that will also kind of burns out the reader. Is that what I’m looking for?
V.E. Griffith 7:21
Yeah, that’s that that works. Yeah, this the kind of the, this the conflict, choice and consequence need to exist in every scene. But they don’t have to be gut wrenching in every scene.
Miss Catherine M.H. 7:36
Thank you, you. You’ve said that more eloquently than I can. So these are the fundamental explanations of the three C’s, I find we both do that it’s really helpful in editing a scene on working on my own working with someone else if we’re coaching someone. So it really helps pinpoint what makes the scene strong. And what makes it weak. So we can sit there and be like, right here that choices are really like, there’s neon signs, why didn’t they pick that choice, because that doesn’t make sense. Or being like, that consequence was really boring, and you need to spice it up a little bit. Or you could sit there and be like, This was amazing. So it really does help us to communicate with other people, and to be able to get those writers to the perfection that they would like to be at. So I think every writer would benefit from taking a look at this.
V.E. Griffith 8:32
I do too. And the neat thing is that you can remix it, it doesn’t have to this is not holy. This is not the the writing Bible. If you need something different, but want to use this as a starting point. By all means please do. And with the revision wizard seen rubric, we’d love to have feedback. If you think a change needs to be made or could be made better. I’m happy to to listen to that. So we we want feedback. So that basically does it for this week. If you’d like to support us and become an original member of the revision wizards community, you can find us at patreon.com/revision wizards we’ve got all kinds of benefits for joining including professional scene and story editing for our members. You can always find us together at revisionwizards.com And you can find me alone at vegriffith.com.
Miss Catherine M.H. 9:27
And you can always find me at scribes-pen.com. Stay Magical.
V.E. Griffith 9:32
That’s it for tonight. Have a good night.