The Sequel


The Sequel follows after a Scene. (note last week’s post)

It has three parts: Reaction, Dilemma, and Decision.

Scene ends on a Disaster. To my liking, that term is a little strong. However, it does need to end with a cliffhanger…a setback…an emotionally-charged sentence, or paragraph, which entices the reader to turn the page and READ MORE.

However, if we write scene after scene, starting with new goals and new setbacks, our readers are left with their heads swimming and nothing resolved.

We must provide a little down time in order to let our readers recover.

Thus, follows the reaction, the first of the three parts of the SEQUEL:

Reaction: This is the emotional follow-through to a Disaster. Your POV character is shown reacting…hurting… weeping.     2029424474_3ce60b5e4f

Dilemma: This is a situation with no good options. Readers worry and wonder what will happen next while you let your POV character work through the choices and sort things out. Finally, he considers what he feels to be the best option.

Decision: This is the act of making a choice among several options. Your POV character becomes proactive again.

So make your character’s decision one your reader can respect. One that has a chance of working out. With a new goal, now the reader is compelled to turn the page, yet again.

You’ve gone from Scene to Sequel and back to the Goal for a new Scene.

Scene leads naturally to a Sequel, which leads naturally to a new Scene, and so on until you end the cycle by giving your POV character the Ultimate Victory!



Your Book, One Scene At A Time

Tokyo Aug 2010 - The Fantasyland Characters go to get ready for

Your book will consist of chapters.

Those chapters will break down into one or more scenes.

Each scene should have a beginning, a middle, and an end. Something significant to the story should happen within each scene to move it forward. When the scene is finished, the reader should feel a sense of completion.

Within each scene, the characters should be actively doing something that makes the story feel as though it is happening in the here and now. (Yes, even if the story is set in the 1800’s, it should feel like it is happening now.)

Once the character reaches his objective, the scene ends.

Each scene should have three parts: Goal, Conflict, and Disaster.

Goal means simply what the POV character wants at the beginning of the scene.

Conflict is the series of obstacles the POV character faces on the way to reach his Goal.

A Disaster is a failure to let the POV character reach his Goal. If you end the scene with a victory, the reader is not compelled to turn the page. Make something happen so that the reader will want to see what happens next.

But a chapter is not just a series of scenes. It is built out of alternating scenes and sequels. 


Next week: The Sequel