NaNo: Scene and Sequel

At Crossing the Threshold, Melissa Goodin has a post on Scene and Sequel.

Scene and Sequel paralyzed me the first time I ever read about it. I thought to myself, there is no way I’ll ever be able to do that. You mean I’m supposed to structure my narrative into several acts with points and twists and worry about this six-part structure?

And yet, since I have searched for S&S out in the wild, I realize it’s everywhere. It’s so everywhere that even if you’ve never heard of Scene and Sequel, you can feel it. Most books have it. Most movies have it. Big crazy thing happens, big problem for the protag. Cut! New chapter, in which protag sorts through the information, reacts to it, and comes up with a plan.

If you’ve read The Hunger Games, I touched on Scene & Sequel in my Story Deconstruction Series part 6. (Though if you haven’t read and/or are planning to read it or watch the movie, well, story deconstruction necessitates spoilers).

It’s in a lot of television shows, too. What happens before the commercial break? The end of a scene. The return to the show should signal the forthcoming sequel loud and clear.

So even if planning in Goal > Conflict > Disaster (SCENE) and Reaction > Dilemma > Decision (SEQUEL) sounds scary, relax. It’s a pacing technique that helps make sure you have give your readers time to breathe. Scenes make us hold our breath. Sequels allow us to inhale again (knowing full well that our favorite author is going to take our breath away again before the chapter is over with the next disaster).

How are you using Scene and Sequel to help you plan out your NaNo?

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