I’m back in the saddle here in MBT…(I am required to use cowboy terms as long as I have a COWBOY book on the market. That’s just way it is…*grin*).
Seriously, I feel so out of it since taking off to Arkansas (but if you want to see a picture of me and Rach and the gang, it’s up on my website www.susanmaywarren.com). Anyway, last week Rachel took up the reins and posted on writing a SCENE. Great job, Rach!
This week we’re going to continue with crafting our scenes by talking about the other half of a scene (a SEQUEL) which is also technically a scene, but a different kind of scene. We’ll also talk about what action to put into your scene, how to decide what pov your scene should be in and a few secrets about making a scene strong. It’s all a part of moving our Hero along in this first step on his journey – the Call to Adventure!
Okay – you know what a SCENE is — it’s an active event where there is a GOAL, a CONFLICT, and a DISASTER. Ideally, at the end of the Scene, your character should be faced with a choice of some kind, some dilemma they have to solve.
For example, I just finished “The Ultimate Gift” (a crying, slightly sappy movie for the entire family), and there are some wonderful SCENES, where the hero has to choose to fulfill his grandfather’s requests and maybe receive a reward, or turn his back on the entire project.
A SEQUEL happens after a SCENE. It can be short, the beginning of another SCENE, or it’s own 1200+ word “scene.” A sequel builds on the information/events of the previous scene and has three components: Reaction, Dilemma, Decision.
We need to give our readers time to deal with the ramifications of what has just occurred in the scene – thus, our character must process his/her current state. This is the REACTION phase of the Sequel. Often it helps if they can also reiterate the stakes, and what their motivations are.
Then, they take a look at their options, and state the DILEMMA before them. Should our hero pursue the prize, or return to the life he knows? Should Frodo give up the ring to the able-bodied Elves, or carry it himself to Mt. Doom? Stating the dilemma helps the reader get inside the mind of the main character, and carry the burdens with him.
Finally, the hero must make a DECISION. It needs to have sufficient motivation, and of course risk, but if he should succeed, there must also be adequate rewards to risk the decision. Once the decision is made, then he moves forward into the next SCENE.
For each pov character, for each story thread, there should be interlacing Scenes and Sequels. Some clients have asked me: Does every Scene have to be immediately followed by a Sequel? Not necessarily, if the action is fast, and tumbling over each other, but at SOME point, the reader and hero much stop and gather their horses, count their ammo and figure out what to do next.
And, of course, the faster the story, the shorter the sequels. But they do need to be there, or the reader will forget WHY they’re on the journey at all.
Tomorrow we’re going to talk about how to decide the substance and action, even dialogue that should go into your scenes!