Scenes are about pleasure transitions, which come from expectations.

I just worked on a scene where my character goes to talk to the best player in the nation. His initial expectation: “A simple, harmless good luck.”

As the scene goes on, he manages to make the player (Tony) smile. And that makes his day. (It’s MORE than expected.) But the scene isn’t over. Now he desires to leave, but his friend is going on and on, to the point that the player is getting annoyed. The tension is growing and now there’s a risk in my character losing that.

And eventually, our protagonist, dying to get out of there, looks back at Tony: “Tony was no longer smiling, my stomach turned.” Still his friend goes on and goes until the player explodes. All is lost.

This interaction happens over a thousand words or so, but I find it interesting that this simple line, 5 words long, “a simple, harmless good luck,” set up the ebb and flow of pleasure/pain. If we, the reader, didn’t understand these expectations of the character, we wouldn’t understand why he wants to escape so desperately.