Friday, May 29, 2015

Insignificant Scenes

My neighbors have recently introduced me to the Marvel Universe. We’ve been working through all of the movies one by one, and I’ve loved it. One of things that has really amazed me is the story telling. Joss really doesn’t have a single insignificant scene.

It may not seem that way, there are random scenes that seem to pull out of the story, or reduce the tension, but every single scene is absolutely important to the scene.

We were watching Thor: The Dark World the other night, and there’s a scene where they spend several minutes dropping bottles, shoes and cans down a vortex that takes them to a completely different world. At the end of the scene, the intern drops their car keys down. It’s a hilarious scene, and the first time I watched it, that’s all I thought it was. A way to diffuse the tension, build comedy. But the second time I watched it, I realized there was a very important purpose to this insignificant scene.

Near the end of the movie, two of the characters are stranded. They have no way out, and then they find a vortex. One of the characters automatically knows that this vortex leads into her world. How? She sees cans and bottles… then shoes… and finally her keys. It’s a way to clue the audience into the significance of this one particular vortex, and where it leads. Otherwise, the audience might cry foul when they magically appear exactly where they want to go.

This is just one of the many, many examples found in the new Marvel movies. Every single scene, no matter how insignificant has a very vital part of the story.

When writing, I like to use Scrivener so that I can separate my scenes and figure out where I am. After watching the Marvel Movies, I’ve decided to go back through each scene and write the purpose. How does it move the story forward, and is it vital to the story?

How do you make sure that your stories don’t have non-vital fluff?