1. archer88i
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    archer88i Member

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    Scene vs. Sequel

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by archer88i, Dec 30, 2008.

    I tried searching for thoughts on this topic on Google, but those sorts of search strings are rarely fruitful. So:

    Any thoughts on beginning a work with a sequel rather than a scene? The vocabulary would make that seem a terrible idea (sequels come after scenes, right?) but I know for a fact that published types mix them up anyway.

    Off hand, I can't think of any novels that begin with sequels. Maybe someone can come up with an example?

    Now, of course, it would seem a terrible mistake to begin with the after-action report of anything, but it seems to be a habit of mine nonetheless.

    ---

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scene_(fiction)
     
  2. BillyxRansom
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    BillyxRansom Active Member

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    Do you mean sequences?
     
  3. archer88i
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    archer88i Member

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    Nuh uh. I'll add some clarification.
     
  4. Rei
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    Rei Contributing Member Contributor

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    I still don't think this is a very clear question, especially since the word "scene" applies to both ways of starting that you are refering to. Here are the dictionary.com definitions of the words you're using.

    sequel: an event or circumstance following something; subsequent course of affairs.

    scene: the place where some action or event occurs

    A a sequel is still a scene. It's just a scene that takes place after the main story in the context that you're using it. So if I didn't get completely mixed up, you're talking about really basic non-linear story-telling. That is, the order you read the events in is not the order they actually happened if you were to look at them on a timeline. In general, if you can handle is smoothly there is nothing wrong with that. On the other hand, if you just have the last event as the first chapter or whatever, then have the rest of the story be about showing us how everyone got there, you have to be sure that this is the very best way it can be told. People don't want to know the ending. And it's also more exciting, even if you know how it ends, to see it play out after seeing/reading everything that leads up to it.
     
  5. garmar69
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    garmar69 Contributing Member Contributor

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    I have to say that I don't understand what you're getting at either. A sequel to what?

    Are you asking if the sequel to a story should be written before the story is written?

    Or are you referring to back story?
     
  6. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Sequel means that which follows. So how would you begin with it?

    As others have noted, yoru question doesn't really make much sense. You aren't comparing apples with oranges so much as apples with aardvarks.
     
  7. marina
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    marina Contributing Member Contributor

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    So what you're asking is what people think about you starting a story with a sequel, as in an after-event, rather than the start of the whole series of events? So, like what George Lucas did with Star Wars...starting w/Luke, etc., and then several movies later going back to telling the story of Luke's father.

    Did I get it right?
     
  8. archer88i
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    archer88i Member

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    Actually, in this context, the term "sequel" is unrelated to the chronological sequence of events.

    Example:

    Boy gets home from school and has a craving for ice cream. He rushes inside, digs around in his drawer for his money sock, and takes out three cherished dimes, and then he heads to the street where the truck is passing. He purchases a popsicle of some kind. His dog, anxious to see him after he's been gone all day at school, jumps on him and knocks the popsicle into the dirt. Anxious to save his treat, the boy grabs it and runs back into the house to run it under tap water and wash away the dirt. Little does he know that his mother has had the hot water running; the popsicle melts mostly away before he realizes the error and he is left with no money and no treat on a hot spring day.

    That would be the scene. The "sequel" would be the aftermath -- how he responds to his grand plans being dashed.

    Scene is equivalent to rising action, I suppose, whereas sequel is equivalent to falling action.
     
  9. Gone Wishing
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    Gone Wishing Contributing Member

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    Going just by your example, I think it would be - at the very least - a challenge to make that a beginning that grips and maintains the attention of the reader. In any story arc, the reader generally likes to move through the events that lead up to the climax of a story, even in seemingly inconsequential events that won't ultimately bear a great deal of relevance to the story as a whole.

    If the reader isn't with the boy when he's craving the ice cream , if they're not with him when he's excited about eating it and experiencing the disappointment of it melting away, the 'aftermath' is not likely to have anywhere near as much of an impact...

    Of course, I also firmly believe that when it comes to methods of writing, there are no absolutes. ;)
     
  10. robertpaine
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    EVERYONE, He's talking about a certain technique that some writers use, using scenes and sequels to structure their work. I've read about this.

    Scene
    Goal
    Conflict
    Disaster

    Sequel
    Reaction
    Dilemma
    Decision

    I think you could use a sequel because then it would stimulate the readers to know exactly what happened to cause such a reaction.

    Go for it.
     
  11. archer88i
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    archer88i Member

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    Now, see, that whole "make them wonder what happened thing" is the excuse I normally use, but I simply can't think of any examples of it in action--can't think of any examples where a published author has pulled a stunt like that.
     
  12. Rei
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    Rei Contributing Member Contributor

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    That does refer to the chonological order in which is happens if you were to look at the events on a timeline. Just look at your choice of words aftermath, how he responds to the event, which you would read after the rest of the story if you were to tell it in chronological order.
     
  13. robertpaine
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    robertpaine Member

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    Then try it, make it unique to your style! It's original!
     
  14. garmar69
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    garmar69 Contributing Member Contributor

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    I don't understand how you can claim that 'sequel' is unrelated to the sequence of events, then write the second sentence above.

    Yet again, I have no idea what you're driving at. Are you saying that the 'scene' is the action, and then 'sequel' is the consequences of said action? A sequel is the Something that follows Something else, but then you are saying that it isn't. :confused:

    I think you're making this way too complicated because you have a false notion about what sequel means. Perhaps if you were to say: should I show the aftermath after the action, or introduce it first?

    To which I would answer: do what you bloody well think is right for your story.
     
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  15. marina
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    marina Contributing Member Contributor

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    archer88i -

    Look, dude, please get a clue about the definitions of the words SEQUEL and SCENE.

    Go to merriam-webster.com, type in those words, read the definitions, then give us a brand new question because you're not making any sense.

    You'll embarrass yourself if you keep misusing those words out in public.
     
  16. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    i've never heard of such a thing and it makes no sense to me, in re the meaning of the words 'scene' and 'sequel' which seem to have been corrupted here from 'action/reaction'...
     
  17. Etan Isar
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    Etan Isar Contributing Member Contributor

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    I can see what you're driving at, but it is true you'd be better off using more familiar words. You may not be using "scene" and "sequel" incorrectly, but what matters in writing is not being right, but being understood. I should also point out that you are being contradictory. Whatever definition of "sequel" you use, it comes after chronologically, even though it may not do so in the story.

    There's nothing particularly wrong with doing it that way. I read a book just yesterday that managed to pull it off. But there are several things you should consider. First, are you willing to take the risk that your readers won't be invested enough in the story to care about the sequel("aftermath" is better) before they've seen the scene? Second, what is your particular reason for doing things bassakwards? Is it really all that important? Third and final, why would you want the action to fall before it rises? Are you already so high that this fall won't affect the reader's engagement?
     
  18. Spearnymph
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    I think it's an interesting way to start a novel. I was a little confused at first because can't a sequel itself be a scene?
    If we go by this definition, I think it does make sense. If the disaster is less engaging than the reaction, then I don't see why you'd have to start with the rising action. Also, I can't think of a specific book, but don't some crime and mystery novels start off this way?
     
  19. robertpaine
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    I'M SORRY GUYS! But everyone saying he isn't making any sense is completely wrong. He is making sense he's referring to a certain technique some authors use wherein they catagorise their work with scenes and sequels (as explained in my previous post).

    Rather than saying s/he's wrong and will embarrass s/he'll embarass him/herself, go and research this method and then answer his question which makes perfect sense.
     
  20. marina
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    marina Contributing Member Contributor

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    If all of these writers who have posted in this thread have never heard of these new definitions for scene & sequel, then that pretty much makes it clear...it doesn't make sense.

    Just because some author writes a book and starts using these 2 words in weird new ways doesn't make the new definitions legitimate. I'm not talking about technique right now, I'm talking about something more basic: words and what they mean.
     
  21. garmar69
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    garmar69 Contributing Member Contributor

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    No need to shout--we can see just fine. ;)
     
  22. Etan Isar
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    Etan Isar Contributing Member Contributor

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    Let's try not to get into an argument. His usage was indeed confusing, but his link was certainly valid, or it would be if that lat parenthases was fixed. I'll put the proper link in this post, and you can read where he got his technically accurate definition:

    Defintion of Scene: Wikipedia:

    In fiction, a scene is a unit of drama. A sequel is what follows, an aftermath. Together, scene and sequel provide the building blocks of plot for short stories, novels, and other forms of fiction.
     
  23. Spearnymph
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    Wikipedia is a good authority for me. I wouldn't brush those terms off just because they haven't entered a dictionary.

    We're not talking about something one person is using. Isn't language supposed to be adaptive, and don't some words mean different things across regions? Whether these definitions are legitimate, I'd say they are understood by this point. I'm sorry if I'm missing your point, but I see no reason to ignore his choice of definitions since this is a two-way and ongoing conversation. For this context, they work perfectly well if we accept them and move on.

    Sorry.
     
  24. Etan Isar
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    Etan Isar Contributing Member Contributor

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    I wasn't talking to you. :) I think your point is quite well-made.
     
  25. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    I do appreciate this clarification, Robert. I saw it when you first posted it, and I thank you for enlightening me. I had not seen this perspective before, and it does represent a slightly different way to envision a plot. I'm not sure if it really gives an advantage in developing or analyzing plot, though. Clearly, it's an uncommon enough use of theterm sequel to make researching it difficult.

    Since you are obviously more familiar with it that the rest who have responded to this thread, can you offer any insight as to how it may sometimes be a superior way to view plot, and what drawbacks are inherent in it?

    It;s always a good day when I learn something brand new.
     

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