Scene and Sequel.
Scene and sequel are two of the most important components of plot, but they also seem to be two of the least understood. If plot were an engine, scene and sequel would be the pistons powering the drive shaft. Writers striving to turbocharge their writing might want to fine-tune their use of scene and sequel.
Let’s put plot structure in context. On a micro level, plot consists of action and reaction. On a macro level, plot has a beginning, a middle, and an ending. But plot also has a midlevel structure: scene and sequel.
Scene is a unit of drama—where the action occurs. Then, after a transition of some sort, comes the sequel—an emotional reaction and regrouping, an aftermath.
The structures of scene and sequel are quite different, and they serve entirely different purposes. Many how-to books depict the rising action of a story as a jagged line, or stairway. What they fail to explain is . . .
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