It’s the last in our three-week series on scene and structure the Dwight Swain way. Let’s go.
Like we said in the first week, Swain makes us writers think of basic elemental structure and creating our novels in four steps:
- Making cool characters.
- Grouping your sentences and paragraphs into motivation reaction units.
- Grouping those motivation reaction units into scenes and sequels.
- Grouping those scenes and sequels into story patterns.
Last week we talked about scene and sequel and how it helps keep our novels not-episodic and logical because it’s all about cause and effect.
A quick recap.
Scenes have goals, conflicts and disasters. That is the sequence.
Sequels have the character’s reaction to the disaster, a dilemma where she figures out what to do next, and then a decision where they decide what the hell to do now.
So how do you make those scenes and sequels that we talked about in last week’s podcast work together?
You have to think of scene and sequel as a single unit, says The Manuscript Shredder.
They write, “One builds to the next, establishing a chain of causes that leads the reader through the character’s story. They are two sides of the same coin. Bring them together and make them both work for you.”
Or as Raven Oak writes.
“Scenes and sequels should continue to alternate the entire length of the novel, and in doing so, they’ll create a natural flow for both plot progression & character development. Many authors plan or outline the sequence of events using scene & sequel on index cards before writing.
“Just about any novel you read will follow this rhythm. It seems simple, but structure usually is.”
Tomorrow on the blog, I’ll be talking a tiny bit more about this and the types of disasters that can happen in scenes.
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