Nothing like a little S & S to keep you up all night

Light a candle and turn down the lights. Key the sultry, sexy sounds of Barry White as we get ready for a little S & S. I’m here to tell you that after a long, hot day at work there is nothing better than crawling between your cool, 300 count cotton sheets and enjoying some S & S with your characters. Kinky? Nah. Intrigued? Hopefully.

The S & S I’m referring to is Scene and Sequel. Honestly now, what did you think it was? (wink-wink) Usually, the only initials that turn me on this much come bagged and promise not to melt in your hand so you’ll have to pardon me if I get a little excited about S & S. It’s very exciting subject matter.

Scene and Sequel is the reaction to the action in the previous chapter. Huh? It’s the one-two punch that keeps you reading long after you should have gone to bed. If it’s done well enough for you to “just read one more chapter” before you turn out the lights, then feel free to blame those little baggies under your eyes the next morning on S & S. Who cares if you were so caught up in the novel that you need an extra layer of Cover Girl or another swipe of Maybelline for your long, hot day at work? You can go to bed early the next night. I promise you if you blame your current disheveled look on S & S—no one will ask. They wouldn’t dare.

A huge share of popular romance novels employ the S & S technique. Hooks (Scenes) are meant to keep us turning pages. Sequels are the payoff—answers and reactions to the questions/situations just posed.

But, not every book has them. Some authors use them all the time and some never use them. In the ones that don’t, there is some sort of segue, but the usual Scene and Sequel as we know it is missing. These books can be just as fascinating because you know in your heart that eventually the current dilemma will be resolved, but I like to know right away what happened when a gun is fired, or the brakes on their vintage convertible no longer work or even something as simple as your heroine taking a pregnancy test. I gotta know. (See the baggies under the eyes paragraph above.)

I do my best to utilize the S & S method (uh-oh, I hear Barry White again) every chapter. If you’ve never tried it then I suggest you give it a whirl. Who knows, it might be the key to keeping your readers up all night. Now go enjoy a little S & S with a tall, dark and handsome hero or heroine of your dreams.

Hugs,
Reese

13 comments:

Jessica said...

I love books that make me want more. Where I get to the point that Justin takes the book and hides it, so I have to go to bed. Another reason yours is so amazing! Love you mommy! Enjoy some M&Ms with the girls for me!

Joan Vincent said...

Now I have a term for how I write--S&S! I've spent my life reading "just one more chapter" until the wee hours and then hating the alarm when it rang at 6AM. I also now know--thanks to Jessica--that there are other men besides my husband who threaten and try to hide books. Thanks for the great explanation Reese and Happy Independence Day!

Pat Davids said...

Ah, that's what S & S is. I had a whole nother picture in my head.

Great explaination. I also love a book that doesn't contain a stopping point.

Reese Mobley said...

Jessie, tell Justin to keep his paws to himself. (grin)
XOXO

Reese Mobley said...

Joan, I'm not sure who came up with the actual term Scene and Sequel but they sure nailed it for us book lovers. Happy 4th to you as well!

Reese Mobley said...

Why Miss Pat, you're gonna make me blush. (eg)

Roxann Delaney said...

How deja vu is this? I was just talking S&S on an email loop yesterday. I'd almost forgotten about it. It's one of the best plotting tools out there.

Did I hear a gasp?

I'm not sure if Jack Bickham originated the term, but he uses it in his book, Scene and Structure. He shows how to use 3X5 index cards to facilitate the process.

Great job on explaining what it is, Reese!

Reese Mobley said...

I love it when this happens. Thanks for posting, Rox.

Roxann Delaney said...

Since the (non)program at the meeting next Sunday is going to be on plotting, this is a GREAT thing to talk about. I'll bring some sample index cards to pass around.

I'm SO glad you brought it up. Now, if I can just find the book in all these piles and boxes... (my filing system)

Reese Mobley said...

I knew there was a reason you kept me around. (grin)

Roxann Delaney said...

It's common knowledge that I need a keeper. Shazam! You're it!

Starla Kaye said...

After writing for so many years, I do the S & S thing without even thinking about it. To me it isn't any different than deciding how long to make a chapter. They are routine things for me. But it wasn't that way at the beginning.

Penny Rader said...

Great post, Reese!

We have Jack Bickham's Scene and Structure book in the WARA library. I love his books. He breaks things down and makes them easy to understand.