Feels, Forshadowing, and Forwarding of Plot: The Essentials of Scene Construction
Having trouble deciding if a scene in your manuscript is worth keeping or not? An easy way to make up your mind is to factor in how much the scene accomplishes for the book by supplying an emotional connection between the character(s) and reader, hinting at things to come, or actively moving the plot forward. I like to sum it up this way: Every scene in your book should meet at least two of the three Essential Fs:
Forwarding of plot
‘Feels’ is slang for emotional impact or the personal emotions stirred up by something, usually by a book or movie. They're important in your character's development - you want to create a character whose struggles, quirks, and personality resonate with readers on an emotional level. Emotional characters have a bigger impact on readers, and stick with them longer. Being sure to include scenes that deepen your character's internal life, personal changes, and decision-making will keep your book from being about a bunch of robots.
Foreshadowing is the scattered clues and hints that allude to what will take place later on, the tidbits of bait that make the reader keep reading. They have to keep reading, see, because character one said something in chapter five that must mean something - because why else would he have said it? A fun thing to do is to create a scene that, at first glance, is mainly feels and a bit of forwarding, but, after five more chapters, turns out to be the beginning of a plot twist. This’ll have your readers bouncing in their chairs yelling with glee: ‘I knew it, I knew it!’
Forwarding the plot is just that - moving the plot forward. Forwarding scenes propel your characters on to the next challenge, plot twist, or big clue to the puzzle of the main plot. In reality, every scene should have this aspect in it, but it doesn't always have to be the biggest or most plain element, as mentioned above with foreshadowing. It is actually wise to take a break and focus on a feels or foreshadowing-focused scene every once in a while, to give both your characters and your readers a chance to catch their breath before racing on to the next big cliffhanger.
So, if your scene in question can lay down good evidence of feels, foreshadowing, and forwarding of plot, the answer is obvious: it’s a keeper.