Monday, June 3, 2013

Just Keep Swimming...

I took a writing workshop a few months ago that reminded me of something I sometimes forget while writing: scene and sequel.

It sounds so easy, but as I’m editing…again…I notice that there are times I get a little lost in my characters and every single thing in their lives. While as an author knowing your character is important, dwelling on ordinary things can drag out or drag down some of a book’s pacing.

With each page I reread I hear the lecturer whispering scene and sequel in my ear. I know most of you know this stuff, but sometimes I need a reminder. So if you’re editing, or even if you’re plotting or writing, remember these important points:



Whether you are writing a high impact moment in your book, or even a simple scene, using these elements will keep the reader engaged and keep things moving forward in your story.

For example, a simple scene might just involve your MC missing the bus and getting to school late which results in detention.

Goal-Get to school on time
Conflict-Miss the bus
Disaster-Get detention

From there your character might be stressed or angry at the thought of detention so he or she comes up with a plan to get out of detention.

Emotion-Stress, anger
Thought-How to get out of detention
Decision-Comes up with a plan
Action-Puts plan into motion

Obviously this is a simple idea, but the whole scene/sequel process occurs over and over throughout your book. Some are short and simple, others may continue for several chapters.

A book I recently read that used this structure amazingly well was Elizabeth Norris’s Unbreakable. This book was so hard to put down because with every conflict, big and small, the MC’s reaction set off another chain of events. There was never a good time to stop reading. I love books like this.

A big thank you to Mr. Alcorn for sitting on my shoulder as I edit and reminding me how to keep the pace going. Check out his website for some great workshops to improve your own writing.

What are some of the tried and true techniques that you depend on? Do you write in a scene/sequel manner? 

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