Helping Writers become Authors:
What are set-piece scenes? They’re the big ones. They’re the scenes that define your story, not just in terms of plot mechanics, but particularly in terms of scope and impact. These are the scenes your audience will remember when they think about your story. They’re the scenes they’ll remember even when they’ve forgotten everything else about your story. As screenwriter Matt Bird put it in his book Secrets of Story, these are the scenes with images so captivating and iconic that they’re chosen for the book covers, movie posters, and production stills.
In many instances, these scenes might be the ones that first inspired your desire to write this story. Very likely, they’re the scenes you’ve looked forward to writing for the whole book and, indeed, the scenes you’ve enjoyed writing the most. But they can also be more than a little challenging to write, particularly since your story’s success hangs on its set-piece scenes.