Organizing your story using sequences, sounds immature or boring.
Think about this. . .
Using sequences saves you time, increases your efficiency, and provides you with a stable environment for Story Design.
We're not here to show off or hang out, we're here to release the beauty within our souls.
At first sight, the blob (First Draft) seems to be going all over the place and essentially, your First Draft is CHAOS.
No problem, sequences can solve your problems.
Remember, sequences are tools to organize and shape your material as you drill down from the Story level to the Scene level.
What is a Sequence?
A sequence is a group of connecting scenes that have something in common.
This something in common can be many things:
- Story Event
- Character Event
- Character Decision
- Consummation of Character Goal
- Destruction of Character Goal
By grouping scenes into sequences, you're empowered because now you can drill down and focus only on the scenes in the sequence.
Instead of worrying about an entire section (Beginning, Middle, End), you can focus on one section at a time.
The benefit is simple: you are free to work on one sequence at a time, making your brainpower work in power surges.
Why use Sequences?
Organizing the Blob
After you finish your First Draft, the urge to celebrate will hit you.
Fine, if you want to celebrate, go ahead.
I'll be here when you get back.
Ok, you're finished, now let's move on to the real work.
Look at your First Draft, it's filled with ideas, concepts, and incredible revelations of Character.
How do you make them work?
First, you read through the Draft and find the major storyline, the SPINE, and you use that to put your story in a linear string of events.
Now, go through the spine and break it up into sections (Sequences).
Once you have your story in Sequences, you free your mind to tighten those sequences and make them exciting.
After you finish making each Sequence tight, then you go back and add transitions between the Sequences and guess what?
You've just done a Second Draft, isn't Story Design wonderful?
Why use a Sequence Beat Sheet?
A Sequence BS (Beat Sheet) is a Power Tool.
It allows you to organize your story, tighten it, and add transitions.
All this can be done on one sheet or one surface.
No need to go through your story, chapter after chapter after chapter.
Imagine all the time you're saving and you can use on another First Draft or another Draft of your current story.
Trust me, you're going to have so much fun, you won't stop at this story!
Why to not use Sequence BS?
I know, this is a tough one.
With all the wonderful benefits, why wouldn't you need a Sequence BS?
I'm not going to push the Sequence BS on you by talking BS, I'm giving it to you primitively.
Here's reasons to not use one:
- You're working on a short form (Song, Short Story, Webisode, etc.)
- You're working on a Trilogy (in this case, your sequences would become your Stories)
- You already have your Scene Listing in the right order
The 3-based Sequence Approach
The 3-based Sequence Approach is easy.
It's what we've been using for the past century.
It has many names, but it's still based on the number 3.
Here's a few aliases:
- 9 Sequence Structure
- Beginning, Middle, End
- 3 Act Structure
The 4-Based Sequence Approach
The 4-based Sequence Approach is easy, but for some reason, not as well known as the 3-Based Approach.
Despite this, the 4-based Approach provides a deeper insight into your story because its strength lies in working with 4 equal parts instead of 3 unequal parts.
Here's a few examples:
- 4 Sequence Approach
- Blake Snyder Approach (40 Cards)
- Contour Writing System (4 Acts)
- Marilyn Horowitz
3 or 4 Based, which one is best?
This need for perfection, this need for being the best, it's driven us beyond realizing there's a balance in Nature.
So, let's get this immediately resolved.
Whatever you choose, they are different approaches to the same end.
Break up your story into manageable chunks to make it easier to work with.
In conclusion, there is no BEST Approach, use the one that works for you.