Monday, May 24

Scene vs Sequel: How to Build Conflict.

How do you build conflict and keep it going throughout your entire manuscript? How can you keep your readers turning those pages?

Allow me to introduce Scenes and Sequels

So what is a "Scene"? It's a moment of conflict, lived through by the character (and reader) in a consistent flow of time. Every scene should have two functions: provide interest and move your story forward.

Every "Scene" should have three things: (Explained in the most basic way)

* Goal - What the Character(s) hope to accomplish in this scene.
* Conflict – The thing that stands in the way of Character(s) goal.
* Disaster - Character(s) NOT accomplishing their goal. (Or better know as Hooks*)

Even if your central Goal for your manuscript is to clear your Hero's name from the double murder of his brother and sister-in-law, each scene will need an additional goal (that way each scene has its own conflict and disaster to contend with, therefore hooking your reader).

Now, what is a "Sequel"? Sequel’s connects two Scenes together. Each Sequel provides three functions to your story: to turn your previous disaster into a new goal, to telescope reality, and to control the tempo of your story.

Every "Sequel" should have three things, as well:

* Reaction (to disaster)
* Dilemma (to path of new goal)
* Decision (to embark on new path)

Now, what exactly does all that mean?

I'll give you an example (a very simplified idea borrowed from My Best Friends Wedding)

Example of a Scene:

After years of friendship, Janet realizes that she is madly in love with Cory. She rushes to his house to express her feelings (Goal). When she arrives, she finds another woman there with Cory (conflict). Cory introduces the new woman as his fiancée, Rachel (disaster).

Example of a Sequel:
Janet is crushed (reaction). Should she accept that it wasn't meant to be or do everything she can to break up the wedding (dilemma)? Cory claimed to love her years ago, she would not stand by and let him marry some other woman (decision).

Which, in turn, leads to her next goal... breaking up the wedding (and as a smaller goal in the next scene she plans to screw up the wedding invitations by mixing up addresses)...

Once you master the technique of scenes and sequels you're well on your way to writing a story.

1 comment:

Olivia Herrell said...

OMG, this is so confusing, lol! :0

But, good job on explaining it!