Wednesday, June 19, 2013
Wednesday's Writer's Tip - More on Scene and Sequel
Just a little summing up on using scene and dequel. My thoughts on this technique taken from Techniques of the Selling Writer by Dwight V. Swain.
To me, scene is the show part of writing. We're all told to show and not tell. This is generally the right thing but not necessarily so. Tell belongs in the sequel segment. Now to backtrack.
Scene is show and what you need to know here is that with each new scene, the setting, the characters, goal for the scene and the reasons for choosing that goal are needed. If you don't show the reader where the scene takes place and who the scene involves, the reader can be confused. Now this doesn't mean you have to go into great detail about the setting, especially if the characters have been there before. A few details about the space can bring the reader into the scene. The other thing is to show the reader who the focus character of the scene will be. This doesn't necessarily mean this is the viewpoint character. Sometimes seeing the character through someone else's eyes can reveal things the focus character believes he or she has successfully hidden. The little change in the mouth, the shifting of a gaze can mean much to the observing character. A scene needs to march forward until the problem seems solved but a new one looms.
This brings us to sequel and here you can tell. Often the sequel focuses on the reaction of the focus character to what happened or didn't happen in the scene. Here a bit of the back story won't intrude, especially if that has an impact on the decision for the next move on the way to reach the character's goal.
So using scene and sequel moves the story toward the conclusion. These can be long or short. Much depends on the importance of a particular scene and sequence.