The three parts of a Sequel are: Reaction, Dilemma, and Decision. Readers read for emotion, and sequels provide an abundance of that. Sure, there's emotion involved in scenes, but your character doesn't have time to really experience it. Now, in the following sequel, he can.
Every action has a reaction. And after experiencing a disaster at the end of the scene, your character will experience a reaction, an emotion of some sort. A disaster hurts your character. How m
uch of a reaction or a hurt that your character experiences will depend on how big the disaster is and what it involves.
During "reaction time," your character is off-balance, reeling from the disaster. When your character hurts, your readers hurt for them. So, don't be afraid to hurt your characters and then allow them to feel the blow.
Remember, though, to keep the reaction appropriate. A pimple may just be an annoyance to a business woman. A pimple is a major disaster to a teen girl on prom night. The business woman's pimple may be a small "disaster" in that it may have resulted in stress that she doesn't want to show. A teen girl, on the other hand, may agonize over a pimple on that special night.
Sometimes, a series of fast-moving scenes with end-on-end disasters will not allow much time for reactions. A wave of emotions may flicker across your character's face as he speeds through the sequel, or your character may be operating in shock. However, there will come a time that your character will have to process all that just happened, and the first thing he proces
ses is his reaction to what just happened.
Also remember that in real life, people don't like to be around others who moan and groan constantly and have a woe-is-me attitude. And in books, readers get feed up with characters who do the same. In life, people leave. In stories, readers close the books. So, if you feel that your character must moan and groan, make sure that it's something really important. Then let him do it in the appropriate sequel...and everyone will be pleased.
Next time we'll cover: Dilemma!
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