I had always thought that a scene was a scene; that you write what happens, who is involved and how they feel. Pretty standard stuff really. But then I read about sequels, and my mind went boom!
For years I had always been one of those people who just liked to write until they had finished, a pantser I suppose and I never really gave much thought to scenes. I just wrote the story.
But I decided that the quality of my writing could be improved upon and took a few courses and researched like a madman to learn everything I possibly could. I learned about structure, plotting and outlining and improved my grammar. I found out about scenes, and that something must happen in each scene that moves the story along. Great. I hadn’t been doing that before, and so I began to put that into practice. Then I came upon Sequels, and I realised that writing a scene is a lot more technical than I had ever realised.
You see, scenes involve goals, conflicts and disasters. That probably doesn’t surprise you. However, I learned that sequels follow scenes and they are made up of reactions, dilemmas and decisions. As I understand it, you write a scene and follow it up with a sequel. Then you write another scene and follow it with a sequel and so on until your story or book is finished.
It sounds very complicated, and it is (in my opinion), but it’s also very enlightening. I’ll outline the basics, but you’ll get a much greater understanding of what I’m talking about here – the place I first encountered this somewhat involved way of scene writing.
So, here goes:
The goal is what your POV character wants at the beginning of the scene, and it must be clear what the goal is. They have this goal so that they’re not just sitting around letting life happen. Something has to occur in the scene.
This is the thing or perhaps series of things that prevent the POV character from getting what they want (the goal). Without the conflict, the reader would become bored since there wouldn’t be a whole lot going on.
The disaster is the point when your character fails to reach their goal. This is what keeps the reader reading.
This is the emotional aftermath of the disaster, how your POV character is dealing with recent events. Here you should help your readers feel what the POV character is feeling.
There are no good options following the disaster which creates a dilemma. Your POV character doesn’t know what to do.
Your POV Character must come up with some solutions to their problem and decide on a course of action. This allows them to become proactive again – taking action instead of waiting for things to happen.
There’s a little more to it than that, but this covers the gist of why Scenes and Sequels are necessary.
Thanks, as always for reading and you should definitely check out the link further up (Linked here too) because it gives a more in-depth look at the mechanics of scene construction.
Anyway, until next time…