Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Variety is the Spice of Life.... Scene and Structure #10

Halfway through the first week of school! It's going really smoothly so far and I'm looking forward to a great year with the kids. In case you didn't know, I moonlight as an elementary music teacher during the day, LOL. Teacher by day, writer by night! I'm trying to focus on patriotic songs this year. It amazed me how many kiddos can't sing the Star Spangled Banner or don't even know what it is...Yikes! So that's what this first month will drill into those precious impressionable minds.

Last week I talked about pacing your scenes and sequels. What's funny is that at my DARA RWA meeting last saturday, the speaker talked about Scene/Sequel/Pacing. LOL, maybe something was trying to give a hint.

This week Jack Bickham goes a little deeper into Scene/Sequel and discusses the variations you can take so that your writing doesn't always plod along the familiar beaten overused path.....

"Classic structure of a scene is goal ... conflict ... disaster in that order, and classic structure of a sequel is emotion ... thought ... decision ... action, also in that order."
 He makes a point of assuring his readers that a perfectly good novel can progress in classic form of scene #1 - sequel #1 - scene #2 - sequel #2 and so on and so forth. Once you have your basic plot points and everything laid out ... here are five variations in scene structure.

1) You can start your presentation somewhere other than at the classic and logical entering point, which is statement of goal
2) You can end somewhere short of a fully pronounced disaster.
3) You can interrupt the scene virtually anywhere by having other action intervene.
4) You can interrupt the conflict component by having the viewpoint character's internalization in response to a stimulus develop into "a sequel in the middle of things".
5) You can present the goal-conflict-disaster segments out of the natural order

Here are his five variations in sequel structure:
1) You can skip one or more parts, or portray a segment in only a word or two.
2) You can amplify any given portion out of all proportion to the others
3)You can mix up the normal presentation order of the component segments - i.e. emotion, thought, decision, action - if there is reason to do so.
4) You can interrupt a sequel with the unexpected onset of a new scene.
5) You can insert one or more remembered scenes within the though component (like a flashback).

Pretty much I'm learning that if I plan out my scenes and sequels I can rotate them around to do anything I want with them. But if I chose to write in the standard scene/sequel tradition that's ok too. It's just a little more predictable. He also mentioned that for newer writers it was often helpful not to change up too much structure and let yourself get really good at your craft. So the lesson this week is - There are fathomless ways to "mix" up your scenes and sequels, BUT! don't do it unless it feel natural to the story and you feel comfortable shaking up the structure.

So there's my two cents in a nutshell. More coming next week. Happy Hump Day!

Happy Reading
Happy Writing
Krystal Shannan

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