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  1. #1
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    The First Five Chapters and Scene and Structure

    A brief review.

    The First Five Chapters is straight forward and user-friendly. I used it as a checklist - Introduced main character? Check. Too many characters? Nope. Razzle-dazzle on the big words? Take out that adjective. Does the hook flow logically in the context of the pages? Umm. Let me get back to you on that.

    Scene and Structure was way more intense. A textbook for serious writers, and no surprise that Jack Bickham used to be a creative writing professor. The book is predicated on a scene-sequel-scene form, where each sequel sets up the next scene. I think I got that right. It was hard to relate that to a shifting timeline. Does the present scene sequel set up the next present scene 15 pages later or does it literally set up the next scene even if the next scene is a time shift to the past?

    I just read a book where the writer shifted deftly among points of view and past/present, and it worked great. My understanding is that anything goes as long as it is clearly identified in the chapter title or the first sentence for the reader.

    And at some point, you just have to put the books down and write!



  2. #2
    Cat
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    Quote Originally Posted by alice clay View Post
    The First Five Chapters . . .
    Isn't that "pages"?

    Scene and Structure was way more intense.
    And useful

    [quoteIt was hard to relate that to a shifting timeline. [/quote]

    Does the present scene sequel set up the next present scene 15 pages later . . . ?
    Yes. Think about

    I just read a book where the writer shifted deftly among points of view and past/present, and it worked great. My understanding is that anything goes as long as it is clearly identified in the chapter title or the first sentence for the reader.
    Nuh-uh.

  3. #3
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    The First Five Chapters is straight forward and user-friendly.
    Whoa, Cat, I think you're right. Google brings up nothing sensical on this, and linking to Jack Bickham doesn't work either. Bickham was a successful and prolific writer, but I think the OP got her wires crossed.

    It's FIRST FIVE PAGES. Gotta be.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by alice clay View Post
    Does the present scene sequel set up the next present scene 15 pages later or does it literally set up the next scene even if the next scene is a time shift to the past?
    I'm using the scene/sequel mechanic to plot my novel. It's definitely tough to keep everything straight, and coming up with a good method of representing the structure of the plot is vital.

    To answer your question, if two characters are in a scene (goal, conflict, disaster) they will both end the scene with a disaster. The next scene (used in the regular sense here) that either of those characters appears in should then be a sequel (reaction, dilemma, decision). So the first scene generates two sequels that directly follow on from it. You can put these scenes and sequels in any order you want, but keep in mind that the sequels are independent of each other, but they both logically follow from the scene.

    I find it helps immensely to have "arrows" going from the disaster of a scene to the reaction of a sequel. Similarly, when going from a sequel to a scene, have an "arrow" pointing from the sequel's decision to the next scene's goal or conflict (depending on the POV of the scene and sequel).

    Hopefully that didn't confuse you further.
    Last edited by Nathan N.; 09-17-2011 at 06:30 PM.

  5. #5
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    Hmmm. I don't write by formula. Sounds deadly to me.

  6. #6
    Cat
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    Quote Originally Posted by jayce View Post
    Whoa, Cat, I think you're right. Google brings up nothing sensical on this, and linking to Jack Bickham doesn't work either. Bickham was a successful and prolific writer, but I think the OP got her wires crossed.

    It's FIRST FIVE PAGES. Gotta be.
    Written by Noah Lukeman.

  7. #7
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    Hmmm. I don't write by formula. Sounds deadly to me.

    What Gary said.

    Wouldn't work for me, either.

  8. #8
    Cat
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nathan N. View Post
    I'm using the scene/sequel mechanic to plot my novel. It's definitely tough to keep everything straight, and coming up with a good method of representing the structure of the plot is vital.

    To answer your question, if two characters are in a scene (goal, conflict, disaster) they will both end the scene with a disaster. The next scene (used in the regular sense here) that either of those characters appears in should then be a sequel (reaction, dilemma, decision). So the first scene generates two sequels that directly follow on from it. You can put these scenes and sequels in any order you want, but keep in mind that the sequels are independent of each other, but they both logically follow from the scene.

    I find it helps immensely to have "arrows" going from the disaster of a scene to the reaction of a sequel. Similarly, when going from a sequel to a scene, have an "arrow" pointing from the sequel's decision to the next scene's goal or conflict (depending on the POV of the scene and sequel).

    Hopefully that didn't confuse you further.
    It's just common sense.

    If a scene ends with anything but a disaster, the dramatic tension evaporates. When a person encounters disaster, he reacts, plans and acts, starting the next scene.

    Simple.

  9. #9
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    In a reductionist sense, I suppose it is simple. But when the entire plot of a novel is mapped out using this technique, it's anything but simple.

  10. #10
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    You could always ask IBM if they'll let you borrow Watson for ten minutes, and let the computer write your novel for you.

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