I'm posting this for my writing group. We were talking last meeting about tools to use for constructing scenes and sequels, and I pointed them to Jim Butcher's livejournal blog, where he illustrates the way he learned to map out his scenes/sequels. It's a very basic formula, and one that he still uses in his books, although, now that he's a writing pro (the author of the bestselling Dresden Files and Codex Alera books), Butcher has this formula down instinctively and no longer needs to actually fill these out as worksheets for every scene he writes.
I have found these so incredibly useful in my own writing. They help me focus and intensify my conflict. So far I've used these in revision, but I'm definitely going to try to structure future scenes like this from the get-go.
Anyway, I posted earlier about my troubles with chapter two. After thinking about it and working my thoughts out on paper, this is how I used Butcher's scene/sequel 'worksheet' to tighten my scene and increase conflict:
Here's the "worksheets":
POINT OF VIEW CHARACTER:
CONFLICT (SCENE QUESTION):
SETBACK (SCENE ANSWER):*answers are: yes...yes but...no...no and furthermore!
And here's what I did with them:
We’re introduced to Mist. She’s the lowliest of the kitchen slaves, and has been up since before dawn running coal from the courtyard to the fires, scrubbing pots, and trying to stay out of everyone’s way. She’s exhausted. Her feet hurt, her hands are chapped from scouring the pots and other dishes used in preparation for the banquet.
POINT OF VIEW CHARACTER: MIST
GOAL: To do her work without getting into trouble.
CONFLICT (SCENE QUESTION): Will Mist be able to stay out of trouble and get her work done without punishment?
SETBACK (SCENE ANSWER): NO, and furthermore, she is punished physically
1) EMOTION – upset
2) REASON – she wishes she had a different life, but unfortunately, for a slave, she’s screwed
3) ANTICIPATION – dreads what the rest of the day holds.
4) CHOICE – resolves to try harder, and stay out of trouble.
Setup, continuation of sequel:
Emotionally bullied by Jena, Mist tries to control her feelings of hurt and resentment, but then Kamelah comes in, and now Mist’s life is in danger.
POINT OF VIEW CHARACTER: Mist
GOAL: To convince Kamelah that it’s forbidden for her to be in the Master’s presence.
CONFLICT (SCENE QUESTION): Will she succeed in convincing Kamelah that it’s forbidden?
SETBACK (SCENE ANSWER): No, and furthermore… not only is she being forced to serve, she is punished severely for her defiance.