How Do Plot and Scene Work Together? Series Conclusion

Let’s connect the pieces of plot, scene, and sequel.

Plot at its most basic level is your lead character’s goal and the journey to reach that goal. That journey is played out in the scenes and sequels of your story.

Scenes show the reader the individual steps your character takes to reach his or her goal and the setbacks along the way. Sequels bridge your scenes and present the character’s reaction—emotions and thoughts—to the setbacks, and his or her subsequent decisions and renewed action toward the final goal.

In your WIP, can you identify:

  • The beginning, middle, and end of each scene?
  • How each scene moves your plot forward?
  • Your sequels?
  • How your sequels move your plot forward?

For practice, look for the scenes and sequels in your favorite novels. Does some aspect of your WIP have you stumped? Share below.

Debra L. Butterfield © 2013

Dealing with Time in Sequels, Part 5 of our series

Unlike the scene, which happens moment by moment, the passage of time in a sequel is flexible. Here you can move quickly through hours or days (even months) in your story. What took 158 words as a scene can be written in much fewer words. I’ll take our last example, a scene, and make it a sequel.

Example: Marta searched her Excel file for the next group of potential investors to contact. She made phone call after phone call as she identified names, her temper rising with every conversation. Ten calls, and ten “no’s.” The clock on the wall read 3:30. She shut down her laptop, stuffed it into her briefcase, and tromped out of the office. She’d start again tomorrow.

I have sufficiently covered several hours in her day vs. the few minutes of one phone call I used in a scene. We see her emotional and mental state, and her decision and action (all the elements of sequel).

Questions? Ask below in the comment section.

Debra L. Butterfield © 2013

How Do Plot and Scene Work Together, Part 2


What goes into a scene? All the same things that go into plot: characters, goals, conflict, and setbacks, on a smaller scale.

Scenes require action, and action comes through your character’s attempts to meet her ultimate goal (aka objective). A setback occurs when the conflict encountered obstructs the character’s immediate goal (scene goal).

In my previous example, the protagonist’s objective was [Read more…]

How do Plot and Scene Work Together? Part 1

Many writers struggle with plot, including me. We envision the end product and wonder how we’re going to get there. But much like a chef, our work has basic elements. The chef has meat, veggies, dairy, and spices. He combines these to create a delectable, unforgettable dish. The writer has characters, goals, conflict, and setbacks, and blends them to create a riveting (best-selling, we hope) novel.

At its very basic, plot is characters attempting to reach goals, but who meet with conflict and setbacks along the way. Whether you are a writer who [Read more…]

Have You Learned the Basics of Writing?

Do you wade in from the shallow end or dive in to the deep end? I tend to dive in, but often that’s not a good thing. For example, when I wanted to learn how to quilt, I started with a quilt for my queen-size bed. The end product was nice, but I nearly drowned in my lack of knowledge. If I had learned the basics of quilting first, I would have sewn a quilt for my bed that was gorgeous.

This principle, learn the basics first, applies to anything you want to learn to do. (Tweet this.)

I read about Evernote, Buffer, and Hootsuite—all software apps that can help simplify my life and my daily marketing and social media tasks. I downloaded them all, but have hardly used them. I have a Twitter account, but rarely use it. I wanted to just dive right in and start using all this stuff, but couldn’t quite figure it all out. I had to learn the basics first.

Are you trying to write a novel? Magazine articles? A blog? Spend time learning the basics of that craft first. Then your work will be easier and less stressful, and more than likely, you’ll be more successful at it too.

Debra L. Butterfield. © 2012.

Snag a Publisher!

Looking for a publisher? Then be sure to get 5 Tips to Snag a Publisher with Your Manuscript Submission. Sign up below for your free download.

Get Published!

Looking for a publisher? Then be sure to get 5 Things Every Writer Needs to Do When Submitting a Manuscript (make sure you avoid these common mistakes). Sign up below for your free download.
%d bloggers like this: