This works for film/TV as well as for a checklist for an entire novel chapter. Decided to make this because I used to have a lot of trouble figuring out how to structure a scene.
Introduce the scene’s characters, situation, time, and place. Basically, let us know how the setting has changed since the last scene (if at all).
This shouldn’t be too long or drawn out (unless you have good reason to). This is just to orientate the audience. And if the scene/story calls for it, you don’t have to orientate them to all four; characters, situation, time, and place. In a mystery, you may not let the audience know everyone who is present, what time it takes place, where, etc. Only do what’s necessary for them to not be too disoriented.
Complication of the situation; intensify or complicate the main conflict; introduce a new conflict. This is the gist of scene, which takes up the most word count/screen time.
Situation/conflict of the scene is directly addressed or confronted. This is what the gist of the scene has been building up to; the highest moment.
Often times this is the shortest part of the scene since it is a single moment.
Conflict either appeased, put off, or ended; hint of new conflict/situation. Unless this is the final scene, I like to think of this as the SET UP for the next respective scene/chapter.
Rise of new conflict/situation. Usually, the next scene’s conflict is clearly stated in the conclusion, or at least overtly hinted at.
EXAMPLE SCENE: Airplane ride through a storm.
Milo and Alisha are on a passenger plane, headed through the Bermuda Triangle.
This could be stated in one sentence: “Milo shoved Alisha’s carry-on bag into the overhead compartment, taking care not to squash their lunch.”
Milo is nervous about planes, and it is no help that there is supposed to be a storm. Alisha assures him they’ll be alright.
This is the gist of the scene and can carry on for several pages as they talk about his anxiety, what they’re going to do when they land, etc.
The plane hits severe turbulence due to an intense downburst.
As I said before, stating the climax doesn’t take very long at all since it is, in fact, only a single moment: “The plane lurched downward and the emergency masks dropped with it.”
The pilots lose control; oxygen masks deploy; panic ensues in the cabin.
This could take some time, but usually doesn’t. Once the climax is reached, you’ve now begun setting up for the next scene.
The plane crashes on a strange island.
You could end a scene like this right as they crash; you could end it a bit after the crash as they bear witness to the aftermath. Personally, and for the most part, I would end the scene at the impact, or just after, and save the aftermath for the next scene.
If this seems really simplified, that’s because it is. It may seem like it’ll make your scene short and choppy, but trust—it won’t. These are simply beats in your scene that you need to hit for the scene to seem plausible; and it isn’t even necessary to have them in this order. You could cleverly state in the beginning that the plane is going to crash, putting the conclusion in the beginning, and then build up to it. It’s all up to you. But these are the beats that make a scene or even a chapter (though some chapters may have more than one scene in them–but even with multiple scenes in a chapter, the chapter will still have these five beats overall)