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“You enter the extraordinary by way of the ordinary.” ~Frederick Buechner

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Overview Plot Development: Sequel

Workshop: An Introduction to Writing for Children and Young Adults

Sequel, according to Swain, is a unit of transition that links two scenes. Its purpose is to translate the disaster into a new goal to telescope reality and to control tempo. This is the aftermath. What holds sequel together is topic.

Feeling is the common denominator in sequels and the focus is on the character’s dominant feeling. Scenes tend to hold interest and the sequel gives plausibility so therefore they can be different in different genres. It’s not meant to be a formula, but a guideline.

A sequel may be a few lines, or a whole chapter, depending on the genre and the external/internal priorities of the story. For example, “Kristy hesitated at the tunnel entrance as she heard the pounding footsteps grow closer. She had no other options. She pulled her hood over her head and burrowed into it hoping it would protect her from the spiders.  She took a deep breath, stepped inside, and closed the concealed door.”

A whole chapter version could involve a flashback as to why Kristy is afraid of spiders or knows where the concealed door is.  It would be valuable if the decision she makes at this point contains threads that could be explored throughout the story.  But if it’s only needed as motivation and emotional decision, then short is sufficient.

Action may not require much in sequel—just enough to give a credible reason/emotion for next step.

Back to motivation-response.

Scene: live through a scene—it’s the action; step by step with the character.
Goal—conflict—disaster (new information received)
                        The goal is the character’s decision to act. The new information shows failure                                      (disaster).

                        Example:  John decides to ask Suzy to the prom.
                                            She says, “Oh, I’m sorry, I already said yes to George.”           

            Sequel: the decision making process, a bridge between scenes.
                        Reaction—dilemma—decision=new goal

                        Example: John forces a smile. “Well, I hope you will save me a dance.”
                                         Suzy blushes, “of course.”

Action Steps:

1.     Write a brief scene and sequel—keep it short. Can start with either.

2.     In a book you’re reading this week, identify a scene and sequel. Does it meet Swain’s criteria?  Why or why not?

Share: What is your opinion of using scene and sequel? Helpful or too structured?

Read deep, marcy

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