Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Study of Scene & Sequel using Jack M. Bickham's Scene & Structure Writing Resource: Caution on overdoing the sequel-within-the-scene. Installment # 4.

Back to my Scene and Sequel study.

Jack M. Bickham talks some in his book, Scene & Structure, about authors who overuse the shortcut of adding sequel components(especially with internalization) within their scenes. It's no surprise that this problem is commonly found in Romances. We always like to know what our characters are thinking, right?

And of course, Romance is my chosen genre, so I have to pay particular attention to this warning.

I must admit, this is probably why I have had such trouble getting my head around this particular structure of writing. Since the majority of the books I read are Romances, I know that Jack M. Bickham is absolutely correct. Many of the novels I've read have a tendency to incorporate the sequels into their scenes and thus making it difficult for me to see them as separate entities of the story.

As a writer, I must be careful to follow the rule of providing a stimulus followed by the character's response, at the same time as keeping the action of the scene moving along.

That's the important part. Keeping the action moving within the scene despite the tendency to overload on character's response right then and there.

When you spot paragraphs of basically internalization within a scene, then you know you've got to take a second look and do some analyzing.

It's fine to use internalization within a scene when it is clearly called for, or needed to help reestablish who the POV character is of the scene, but keep it concise so that it doesn't overpower the action of the scene. When longer internalization is called for, highlight it in the given scene with one-liners and then work the depth of it into a following sequel or a later smaller scene designed specifically to give the reader all the sequel components. That way the big scenes will still read fast and get the reader's heart rate up, while providing those all important sequel elements at a later time.

Happy writing to us all today!


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