Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Chapter Anatomy: Decision

scene sequel breakdown

Two more parts to go in the scene/sequel construction!

Today we’re moving on to decision. In this portion, you’ll find that the decision is tightly woven into the quandary part of the sequel setup. In fact, it’s so tightly woven that in the example I gave from my ms on Monday for quandary, you might have noticed that it ended in the actual decision.

In decision, your character has come to make a choice regarding his or her next move, or GOAL. Your character may not be sure of the path they choose. This is perfectly okay as long as they’ve chosen the best possible course of action they can possibly imagine. And more importantly, YOU, the writer, have to make sure this decision is crystal clear for your reader. Remember how in the beginning when I discussed the goal and how that should be clearly stated? This is the same thing. Make it clear. It prepares the reader for what’s coming, heightens the anticipation, and will make the stakes or consequences for failure clear.

So, for your viewing pleasure, here’s the last part of my example showing the decision:

“Natalie, shit, where are you? Why aren’t you picking up? I think you were right. Listen, something is definitely going on here and I don't think they'll let me go. I need your help. Please come get me.”

The message ended abruptly and I stared at the phone with wide eyes. My limbs froze. My fingers turned ice cold around the phone. Jon was scared.

Travis would tell me to call the police, but wouldn’t that make things worse? Something told me Cian wouldn’t take kindly to that sort of visit. What if he was a mob boss or a big time drug dealer? Running for the rest of my life didn’t sound tempting. And if I was right about this, there was no way I could get any of my friends involved.

My heart drummed erratically against my ribcage and my mouth went dry. I didn’t have a choice but to go alone. Common sense screamed not to, but not going at all wasn’t even an option.

So that’s it! Decision made and on Friday, the conclusion . . . du dun duuuuuunnnn . . . ACTION.

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