Write a Scene That Plants Doubt

I used to be a fan of The Bachelor and The Bachelorette. Thanks to the shows’ producers and editors, there’s seldom a lack of tension.

But in one finale there was a tense moment so delicious I wished I’d written it.

Excerpt: After Deanna chose Jesse over Jason, Jason had an opportunity to confront her, with Jesse present, as to why she hadn’t chosen him. I don’t recall her answer, but he got in this parting shot: “I always wanted you to look at me the way you looked at Jesse and Grant.”

My Take-away: Whoa. What if Jason had said, “I always wanted you to look at me the way you looked at Jesse?” He would have come across as just a whiny loser Deanna and Jesse could more or less forget about. But his words planted the knowledge (or nagging suspicion) that she wanted Grant perhaps as much as she wanted Jesse. (Btw, Deanna and Jesse didn’t make it to the altar.)

OK, I know that in this reality TV world Jason’s revelation probably didn’t phase the couple. But the scene inspires me to think about how I might introduce doubt into my protagonist’s budding relationship. There’s not only the moment of revelation, but also the fallout that will bring tension to later scenes. E.g., when they’re having a romantic dinner out, it’s ruined when he accuses her of flirting with the waiter. Etc., etc.

Your thoughts? Leave a comment.


It takes twenty years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it.

–Warren Buffet

One thought on “Write a Scene That Plants Doubt

  1. Well said and I equate planting doubt with putting tension on every page—something I find to be a challenge.

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