Scene and Sequel

A scene is a unit of conflict experienced by the characters.  It can cover a whole chapter, or several scenes can be strung together to make a chapter.

It can sometimes be difficult to figure out where scenes and chapters in your fiction should start and stop.  It can help to structure them around scenes and sequels.  In this model, each scene/sequel set has an active half (the scene) where the character is moving towards both the overarching plot goal and the smaller scene goal.  Things happen and the character either “wins” the scene by achieving the goal or “loses” the scene by failing to achieve the goal.

Either way, something happens to further complicate things.  The sequel is the psychological response to this complication.  It may be written immediately after the scene or (especially in the case of multiple viewpoints) the scene can form a cliffhanger and the sequel takes place at the beginning of the next chapter in that viewpoint.

Scenes include these elements:
Goal – possession of something, relief from something, revenge for something
Conflict – a small version of the novel’s overall conflict
Disaster – Logical yet unexpected complication – actual or potential
Rising of a question – how will the hero respond?

Sequels link two scenes with
Reaction – the hero’s response including state of mind and plan of action
Dilemma – the hero must decide between equally unsatisfactory options
Decision – the hero chooses a new goal, leading into a new scene

Note: Rather than viewing scenes and sequels as distinct types of passages, some authors express the concept as two types of scenes: proactive and reactive.

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