on Fiction University:
A great scene is a lot like a great meal. It whets an appetite for more, it fills up the senses, and it satisfies the hunger.
A lot of things can happen in a scene. Plot things, character things, backstory things. We even describe them as “this is the scene where Bob finds the body in the trunk,” as if the scene has one purpose only.
But great scenes subscribe to the other rule of three: Every scene needs at least three reasons for being in your novel.
That doesn’t mean three plot things, however. It means that every scene will accomplish multiple tasks.
It might advance the plot, develop a character, reveal information, describe the world, explore the theme, raise the stakes, up the tension, foreshadow an event, etc. Which three (or more) elements in a scene is up to the writer.
But that’s not very helpful for writers still figuring this out, so I’m going to be bold and suggest a very general guideline template you can use.