A scene ends when the action ends or the conversation can add no more to that part of the story. Maybe one scene is in the grocery store; the next scene is outside on the docks. Usually when a huge shift in location happens, you begin a new chapter.
(Don’t try to write a sequel to “My Dinner with Andre” which happened totally in one scene at the dinner table. It’s been done and was successful because the actors were good.)
When you end a scene, leave the reader wondering what could happen next and wanting to read further. It’s called a cliff hanger. Leave something unfinished, like a threat of action yet to happen and we can see one character gearing up to do some dirty work. The reader wonders what could possible happen next? And so they keep turning pages.
Or maybe it’s a romance and you end the scene with two people simply staring into each others’ eyes wondering if they could work as a couple.
When you move to the next scene, jump into the middle of it. Use very little narration to set the scene. Best is to knit the action, narration and dialogue together.
Depending on how you present your story, you do not need to have each new scene be a result of another. In other words, that cute couple I just mentioned are staring into each other’s eyes. You wouldn’t and shouldn’t start you next chapter with them in a new location, still cuddling up to get to know each other. Once you introduce that they are mutually attracted, the next scene (the whole story middle) should have action that pulls them apart. Every couple has baggage to air before they become a couple. Regardless what background or location you place them in, the action must be lively.
Keep the idea of a cliff hanger in mind when you finish your chapters.
Cliff hanger = An exciting hint of things to come; something to make the reader want to know more.
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