What do you want your scenes to accomplish?
If your scenes seem dry and short, you're probably not setting enough goals for each scene.
Things that a scene can do:
- Add a conflict
- Advance a conflict
- Resolve a conflict
- Explore a character's motivations
- Explore a character's personality
- Explore the interaction between characters
- Inform about the setting
- Explore how a character views the setting
- Explore how a character feels about a conflict
- Foreshadow future events/choices/conflicts/etc
- Connect to previous events/choices/conflicts/etc
- Explore themes of the story
- Sets the tone of a story
- Sets the mood of a scene
Before you write a scene (or after you write it but before you edit it), make a list of the things you want it to accomplish. Having a framework should help you figure out where you need to add details to fill out your scene.
For example: This scene from Star Wars, where Luke enters the Cantina, gets accosted, and Kenobi cuts someone's arm off.
Things this scene accomplishes:
- Explores setting: This bar is filled with criminals who will try and kill you at the drop of a hat, and for whom a disarming is not important once it stops being interesting. (Also, droids are discriminated against)
- Explores setting: Star Wars features a wide variety of inhuman aliens, who are all considered normal people. They all speak different languages.
- Foreshadows: Greedo is shown as one of the aliens
- Explores character: Luke is very inexperienced in dealing with this sort of place
- Explores character: Kenobi, on the other hand, is more than capable of handling himself here.
- Advances plot: Kenobi has found a ship
By combining all of these goals into a single scene, it creates a scene that is rich and memorable. And it's a very useful scene, despite very little happening that actually moves the story forward, because it informs the reader of what sort of universe Star Wars is, and how Luke and Kenobi fit into that world.
Not every scene should try to do everything - if your list of goals for a particular scene is too long then it will become long and unwieldy. And it's good for different scenes to do different things - it helps different scenes stand apart from each other, and helps you cover all the parts of your story. One scene might advance character motivation, setting, and plot, and then the next explores a different character's personality, story themes, and plot, and then the next goes back to the first character's personality, story themes, and the interaction between the two characters.