How to Write a Saying Goodbye Scene


Part One

  1. Establish the relationship between the two (or more) characters who are saying goodbye.
  2. »A.Why is this person leaving or saying goodbye?

I.         Are they going on a long trip or journey somewhere important? Maybe they are going to find the amulet or slay the dragon. Whatever the case may be, state it and emphasis how long until the character gets to see their loved one again.
II.        Is there a unique way they say goodbye? They can have a tradition. For instance, kiss each other on both cheeks, or have a cool handshake if they are brothers or best pals, or they can do a chest bump. (If you don’t know what I’m talking about, look it up on YouTube).

Example 1:  

“You know,” my brother said when looking down, “even though we never really got along in the past, I did love you.” He raised his head a put a hand on my shoulder. “You’re the only one who knows what I’m going through. I just have to do this. Ever since I was a kid—”

I held up my hand for him to stop. “Say no more. I won’t tell anyone.”

“Promise,” he said.

“Chad, that’s what brothers are for.”

Chad smiled, gave me a huge hug and said, “I won’t forget what you did for me. Thank you. I’ll see you next year.”

“Wait!” I shouted the moment he was walking away, “If you don’t get the amulet or the dragon kills you, what should I tell mom?”

Chad, again, looked to the ground for comfort. “Tell them I was killed in  a freak accident.”

“No one will believe that…”

“Please.” His eyes were watering. “Jared, I need you to do this for me.”

I nodded.


    »B.Consider what the character may leave behind.  It can either be a materialistic item, a sentimental note, or a simple, yet passionate kiss.

I.       For lovers, most likely it will be the kiss but it can be all three of them combined. If this is the case, you can have the character (who is leaving) kiss their mate, then give them a letter with a rose attached. TO make the scene even more dramatic, don’t have the receiving character read the letter until after the other character leaves. Maybe in the letter it reveals a secret. Like: I love you, we need to break up… or I’m pregnant.
II.         If the character is saying goodbye to family or friends, have them give something materialist or some wisdom. A father might give his daughter a locket. A mother might give her son a badge the late father used to wear in the army, and/or a grandparent might say a few words of wisdom to their grandchildren.

Example 2:  

“Goodbye, Chad,” I said as he walked off. He was the only person who understood me, too, yet somehow we never got along. I never knew the reason.

Then, to my surprise, Chad turned around. “I almost forgot.” He jogged back over to me, handed me a letter and nodded. “Don’t read it until I leave. Promise me.”

“But what is it?”

“Promise me first, Jared.”

“Fine. I promise.” And with that he walked away. This time for good.



Part Two

  1. You should have already described the setting but this is the time to elaborate on it.
  2. »A.How are they leaving? By train? By boat? Walking away? Taxi? What?

I.          If they are using transportation to leave then describe how the transportation is coming. For a plane, describe how people are starting to board the plane and the plane attendants are calling everyone to come on board. For a train you may describe the doors closing or how the train whistle blows, warning passengers they have a certain amount of time before it leaves. For a taxi, the driver might beep their horn or say “hurry up!” Etc.
II.         If they are walking away or driving away themselves, then have the character maybe be late which means they have to rush the goodbye process. This makes the scene even more dramatic. Giving a time limit is key to a great goodbye scene.

Example 3:   It wasn’t long before Chad started running. My brother had to get the amulet before the end of the month. If not, our world as we knew it will be destroyed. All life forms would seize to exist and survival of the human race would be no more. My whole country has tried many times before. The most famous young men, strong, talented, handsome… yet all of them failed. My brother offered to volunteer his life but everyone laughed at him because he wasn’t any of those things: handsome, talented, or strong. Fed up, he decided to take matters into his own hands. I decided to help him, at first because I wanted him gone, and possibly dead but after seeing his courage, after seeing how strong he was I (not physically but emotionally) I had gained respect for him.

    »B.How does the character try to chase after/stop their loved one?

I.        Do they walk or run up to the very last part of the train platform to wave goodbye?  If it’s at an airport, do they text goodbye several time with a frown face?
II.         Does the character have a last minute change of heart, saying how they want to go with their loved one or saying how they want their loved one to stay?
III.         Does the character grab their loved one’s arm, trying to keep them from walking any further? Maybe they lied about what time the plane/boat, etc, was leaving so the character can miss their trip.

Example 4:  

Thinking about this made my heart start beating fast. Was I afraid for my brother’s life? I looked down at the letter he gave me. And read it:

If I don’t return, tell mom I love her. Tell dad I’m sorry and Jared, I just want to say even though I’m the oldest brother, I’ve always looked up to you. I hated you growing up because of jealousy and for that I am sorry. You have everything I wished I had and more. Mom and dad love you unconditionally; I felt like I had to compete. But I came to conclusion that I need to grow up. You’re not my competition, Jared. No, you’re my brother, my little brother. That is why I need to set an example for you and go on this trip. If not, I will regret it for the rest of my life.


—- Sincerely, Chad.

Looking up from the letter, I threw it to the side and chased after my brother. “Chad!” I shouted. He was so far ahead he probably didn’t hear me. “Chad!”  On the third time I got his attention. He tried to shoo me away but kept running. As I approached him, huffing and puffing, I said, “Look, I’m going with you. There is nothing you can say to change my mind.”

“No, I’m not going to let you do that, Jared.”

“Well you can’t stop me. So…”

He slapped me across the face. “Stop being so selfish, dweeb.”

I rubbed my cheek. “What was that for? Dweeb…. you haven’t called me that since… since…”

“Since I nearly killed you five years ago. I know.” There was a moment of awkward silence between the two of us. “Jared,” he began, “I need to do this alone. Think about how miserable mom and dad will be when they wake up and don’t see either or their sons, especially you. Mmmm, they won’t be able to live very long after that. You are the man of the house now. You must take of them while I’m gone. And, and if I don’t return,” he looked to the ground again, “if I die, tell them what I told you in the letter.” Chad shook his head, turned around and headed off for the final time. (This time for real).


Part Three

  1. What is the character thinking as they leave/ or as their love one leaves?
  2. »A.What memories come to mind?

I.         Does the character look gloomily out the window of the train, waving goodbye or with a pouty lip out?
II.        Does the character think about the good ole days when they first met their loved one? If it’s a parent they might think about their child as a baby and holding them in their arms.

Example 5:   (No example but you can add one in your scene)

    »B.Does the character (whichever point of view you write in) have hope for the future?

I.         Do they see their leaving as a way to grow, to move on with their life, to improve as a person, or do they see it as a waste of time, something they wished was already over so they can return to their loved one again?
II.      Does the person have regrets leaving once they’re on their way to their destination? Do they regret not saying something to the person? Do they regret getting on the plane/train/boat, etc?
Example 6:  

I have to admit, watching him leave my presence was tough. Who would I tell my jokes to, make fun of for being dorky. Who would I ask for advice about girls? Who would I pull practical pranks on? Tell me, who! No one, that’s who. It took this to make me realize how much I lowerd my Jared, how much were more like actual brothers than enemies. I wanted to chase after him again, but what would that solve? To me, the amulet wasn’t even worth it, especially considering we don’t know if he will survive the encounter. I lowered my head in sadness. I just hope all of this wouldn’t be a waste of time or life, because right now it felt like it was.


Part Four

  1. Decide on what feelings to convey.
  2. »A.There are endless emotions. Angry, sadness, depression, happiness… the list goes on.

I.      The person can be happy about leaving so much that they don’t look back when they enter the car/boat/plane, etc.
II.         The person can be so sad or depressed that they get off the transportation and returns to their loved one saying how much they loved them.
III.         The person can be so regretful, miserable or lonely that they call their loved one five minutes into their traveling.

Example 7:  

“Screw it!” I shouted to myself. “I am not letting my brother go alone. I am going to follow him. But I can’t get caught.”

I began following Chad, just to make sure he was safe. No way was I letting him go slay the dragon and get the amulet all by himself. He could barely swim for goodness sake. I should know, he almost killed me five years ago because he jumped into the lake on top of my head and used me as floaty. Of course it wasn’t on purpose, but my point is if I don’t follow him, he is toast.

    »B.Finally, remember characters are supposed to be human (mostly) so decide on how they express their emotions.

I.         Maybe the character does whatever they can do to keep their emotions down. The can yell, draw, fall asleep, look at pictures of their loved one, etc. Choose what the character does in order to settle down/control their emotions.
II.     Describe them leaving the place. Describe the tiny details of how the character notices the school go by where he/she used to go to or how the trees have grown over the years. In other words, mention what the character hasn’t noticed before while living there. As humans, we tend to notice things more if we are leaving the place. Like, maybe we didn’t notice how big that building was or how clean the park was. You decide. What does the character notice (about the setting) the most.

Example 8:  Following my brother brought tears to my eyes. I constantly looked back at my hometown, knowing full well I may never see it again. The environment looked so peaceful and calm; something I hadn’t noticed before. And hey, I could see my house from here. I turned around one last time and stopped in my tracks. With my right hand I waved goodbye, hoping with that one day I can return. Not just me, but my brother Chad as well.


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