Welcome to the 7 Day Scene Intensive Pre-Course

 7 Day Scene Intensive Pre-Course Materials via www.writership.com

Welcome to the 7 Day Scene Intensive Pre-Course. We’ve prepared some great content for you to take in before we go deep beginning February 4. We don’t want you to miss any information related to the Intensive, so please take a moment to whitelist hello@writership.com by adding it to your contacts.

Our intention with the pre-course materials is to help you become familiar with the structure and components of scenes in advance. We want to provide a foundation that you can absorb at your own pace so you can make the most of our time during the Intensive. The information has been divided into manageable installments because it’s a lot to take in and we know you have other demands on your time. We recommend marking time in your calendar so this important step isn’t neglected.

Over the next three weeks, on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Sundays, we’ll send you an email with the following:

  • Intensive Materials we’ve created to help you understand what goes into a scene that works. 
  • Supplemental Materials from the Story Grid site and other sources for additional support.
  • Live Scenes, including movie clips and story excerpts, to help you identify the Five Commandments and other components of scenes.
  • Housekeeping information so you’ll know what to expect every step of the way, including schedule for submissions and calls and instructions for uploading your scenes, reviewing feedback, and joining the calls.
  • A Question or Prompt to help you think about the work in different ways.

For our first installment, we'll begin with some basics.

Intensive Materials: What is a scene?

Since we’re studying scenes, we should start with a solid working definition. Scenes are the smallest complete unit of story and the building blocks of scenes. Robert McKee says a scene is “an action through conflict in a unity or continuity of time and space that turns the value-charged condition of the character’s life.” 

If we add some flesh to those bones, we might say a scene is a unit of story in which

  • a character takes action toward a goal that arises from an immediate problem or opportunity, and
  • she encounters troublesome obstacles in trying to achieve that goal until 
  • circumstances change, and she faces a dilemma, and
  • when she acts on her decision, 
  • consequences unfold.

You can see how these components create a mini-story with loads of possibilities. In our next email, we'll look at Inciting Incidents, the event that kicks off a story or scene. 

Supplemental Materials: The Five Commandments of Storytelling

Take a few minutes to read this article from the Story Grid site that introduces you to the Five Commandments of Storytelling. 

Live Scenes: Master and Commander

One of the stories we’ll look at during our pre-course studies is the 2003 film Master and Commander (screenplay by Peter Weir and John Collee). Watch the trailer here to get a feel for the story and pay attention to the emotions evoked as you watch. 


Our home base for the 7 Day Scene Intensive can be found here. The password is Scene-Home. Take a moment the first time you visit to bookmark that page. We'll post important notices there, as well as information and resources from the Pre-Course materials. If you need anything or have questions related to the 7 Day Scene Intensive, you can reach us at hello@writership.com.


It’s so useful to be clear about our intentions when we embark on a new journey. Take a few minutes to consider and record what you hope to gain from our time together. If you’d like, hit reply and share your intention with us.