Critique: 4 Ways to Write Sequel Scenes That Grip Readers

Scene structure asks for a one-two punch pairing of action and reaction—or as Dwight V. Swain named them in what has come to be considered “classic” scene structure, scene and sequel. The need to write sequel scenes, the reaction half of the equation, is sometimes overlooked and misunderstood. This is unfortunate, since the reaction phase is both what controls a story’s pacing and where much of a story’s meaning may be found or explored.

Some writers fear that lengthy reaction scenes, in which characters process and respond to the consequences of just-concluded conflict-oriented scenes, will slow their pacing too much. And sometimes these fears are well-founded. But without solid sequel scenes, a story will struggle, both because the entirely conflict-oriented pacing will founder in ironic monotony and because characters will feel unemotional and undeveloped. Somewhat non-intuitively, the sequel scenes are often some of a story’s best and richest scenes. (Indeed, many literary and character-driven novels spend proportionately more of their word count on reaction scenes than action scenes.)

The shorthand of all this is that learning how to write sequel scenes is a specialized technique all its own. Mastering the sequel scene will allow you to grip readers’ attention on every page. So let’s take a look at a lovely example of a sequel scene, as well as some pointers on pitfalls and ways to strengthen possible weaknesses.

Learning From Each Other: WIP Excerpt Analysis

Today’s post is the ninth in an ongoing series in which I am analyzing the excerpts you have shared with me. My approach to these critiques is a little different from those you normally see on writing blogs. Instead of editing each piece, I’m focusing on one particular lesson that can be drawn from each excerpt, so we can deep-dive into the logic and process of various useful techniques.

Today, my thanks to Robert Plowman for sharing an excellent excerpt from his light fantasy Wings. He noted:

This scene sequel is from the end of the mid-point. The MC, Tzeria Aetos, lives in an alternate reality evolved from the ancient classical world. She has just been crowned empress by popular acclaim, after having repelled an enemy attack on the capital city. She alone knows that it was her own scheming that indirectly led to the attack, and this fills her with guilt.

The excerpt:

Negotiations successfully concluded, I returned to the palace. Someone brought a stool to help me dismount at the formal main entrance. A captain of the guard saluted, an honor guard flanking the main doors snapped to attention, and the heavy bronze doors swung inward, groaning on their hinges.

I returned the captain’s salute. “I would be alone now.”

I entered and the doors creaked shut, closing with a dull boom. This was the grand audience chamber, seldom used except on formal occasions. The official enthronement of a new emperor was normally an occasion of great pomp and circumstance. This time, it would only be me.

Multi-hued light from stained glass windows illuminated the vast space. At the opposite end stood the throne. It could have been my father’s or my brother’s… now it was mine. I limped across the patterned marble floor and took three steps up to a dais of blue stone, the color of cold ocean. A pair of dragon skeletons flanked the throne. Discovered centuries ago, these were twice the height of a man, with open jaws and outstretched claws. The skulls of two smaller, long dead dragons formed the ends of the throne’s arms. Their jagged fangs were covered with gold leaf and iridescent fire opals filled their eye sockets. I climbed four broad steps and sat down, tapping my fingers on the rock-like skulls. The throne was surprisingly comfy. My throne now, mine. How strange that sounded.

I tried to grasp all that had happened in the past three days. It was heady stuff; a mind-altering blend of intoxicating triumph and heartbreaking loss. It was easy to be cynical about the imperial crown. Easy, given the politicking, the deal-making, the outright bribery that went into the election by the Senate. Still, the act of coronation held great symbolic meaning. The chief priestess was the earthly representative of Tzerotos Nikee. In essence, I received my crown directly from the divine hands of our Goddess of Winged Victory. Doubly true in my case, having bypassed the Senate.

Being Axiom, I never was quite human. Now I was even less so. I had transformed into something new and unique, I was… Empress. Dust motes hung in the motionless air of the hall, yet a vortex of air from another world seemed to whirl around me. The slow beat of wings? I glanced at the dragon skeletons. I could almost believe I could summon them to life with a word. Had my predecessors felt this on their ascension? Was this part of Barates’ madness? I wiped my shaking hand down my face, unnerved by the strange sensations.

I put my knuckle in my mouth and bit down, trying to focus on reality. A fourth of the city had been destroyed. Tens of thousands of citizens of Polis had answered my call and paid the ultimate price. I had survived. My soldiers gave me the Grass Crown and the people of Polis cheered my crowning. I, the one who was at least partially responsible for all those deaths, all that destruction. The irony was almost laughable were it not so appalling. I should have died at Jade Bridge. I expected to pay a terrible price for what I had done and I had, though not the one I expected. I owed my subjects a debt that would be impossible to repay no matter how long I lived. The ferocious blood lust that consumed me on the tenth had cooled and curdled, and I was feeling the after effects. Chloe’s words from years ago came to mind. Combat had unleashed my inner beast. Unlike Chloe, I did not consider that a good thing. Would I be haunted by the shades of all those I had killed? So many, scores certainly.

I took my finger out of my mouth, studying the dents my teeth had made. My hand… so drenched in blood that I had to soak it to remove my gauntlet. Never had I imagined that I could be capable of such violence. I had kept my vow to the goddess and slain the enemies of Polis without hesitation. I wasn’t so sure about the remorse part.

Thargelon had been correct—I had seen and done things that I would never forget, things that I wished I could talk to him about. I had not appreciated until now how much his presence had meant for me these last few years. If only… now Thar was dead and gone, like my loyal horse, like Alissa, like my father. I saved my city and my people, but I lost so much. I was more alone than at any time in my life, and I had been given the most important job in my world. My breathing became ragged, my chest seizing. For a moment I didn’t know what was happening. I leaned my crowned head on my hand and sobbed as the heartache took over.

4 Tips to Write Sequel Scenes That Sparkle

I found this excerpt extremely well-written, to the point that I would not have been surprised to find it in a bestselling fantasy novel. The use of detail and the flow of the sentences is tight and focused, full of both professionalism and personality. Even though this is a scene from the middle of the book, I got a good sense of the protagonist and her rich setting.

As always, it’s difficult to fully judge an excerpt out of its context, but despite the beautiful and gripping writing, I do wonder if it’s not perhaps too lengthy a sequel to keep readers’ interest from wandering. This will depend in part on the overall pacing of the story up to this point. However, for the sake of this post as an instructive piece, I’m going to assume this true and that the following pointers might be used to prevent any possibility of losing readers’ attention.

1. Make Full Use of Your Characters’ Reactions

Classic scene structure looks like this:

1. Scene (Action)

a. Goal

b. Conflict

c. Outcome (Disaster)

2. Sequel (Reaction)

a. Reaction

b. Dilemma

c. Decision

As such, the sequel is first of all the sections that allows you to show your characters’ emotional, mental, and physical reactions to their most recent goal, whether it was achieved, defeated, or something in between. The sequel is also the bridge to the next scene goal, in which characters figure out how to respond and what to do next.

This is why the sequel is such a powerful part of the story. It is what creates the ebb and flow of cause and effect. Although you can sometimes summarize or merely infer the sequel part of the structure (or the scene part, come to that), sequels must be given their proper due especially after deeply important scenes such as in Robert’s excerpt.

For example, if we did not get to witness the new Empress’s responses to the tremendous events that have just happened, we would at best misread her and at worst find her a non-reactive robot. More than that, we may fail to understand what motivates her to move forward into the next scene’s actions. Robert’s excerpt does an excellent job of preventing this from happening.

2. Don’t Rehash What Readers Already Know

In real life when something big happens, our reaction phase is usually filled with lots of rehashing. We review events in our minds over and over. Writers sometimes attempt to mimic this reality, both because that’s what happens and as a way of reminding readers exactly what the character is reacting to. Sometimes this works, but often it is unnecessary since it adds no new information. After all, the readers just experienced everything the character is reacting to.

For example, if I’m correct in guessing that the scenes prior to Robert’s contemplative sequel with the Empress showed everything she’s thinking about—the citizens rallying, the violent coup, her battle rage—then the lengthy summary of these events may feel repetitive to readers.

This is not always true (and certainly not if the events were not shown for whatever reason), but usually it is sufficient to simply dramatize a character’s reaction and trust readers will remember what she is reacting to. The exception is if the remembering brings in new information and/or new perspectives on the information which may advance the plot of their own accord.

3. Let Characters React Together

Because reaction necessarily originates in our heads, it can seem logical to write sequel scenes as internal narrative or introspection. Sometimes this is exactly right, but often we can find a more lively and entertaining sequel by allowing characters to react together.

Depending on how big the previous scene’s conflict was and what the outcome produced, emotions will often be running pretty high. This is the perfect time to hint at or even unleash interpersonal conflicts between characters.

For example, Robert’s scene might have featured a subordinate character—an advisor perhaps—whose reactions to the Empress’s coronation are at odds with her own. He might be ecstatic over her show of power via violence, or he might be unhappy that she allowed herself to be crowned. Either way, dialogue often offers the opportunity for more dynamic dimensions, even in slower scenes. It also allows you to dramatize your POV character’s internal conflict or polarized emotions.

4. Focus on the Dilemma and Decision—What Comes Next?

Because we often refer to the sequel as the “reaction” part of the scene, it can be easy to think the reaction piece of the structure (i.e., reaction > dilemma > decision) is the most important. This is not necessarily true. The reaction phase builds verisimilitude and deepens character development, but it is the character’s decision that moves the plot forward into the next scene.

As such, the true focus of the sequel is the dilemma. The outcome of the previous scene has left the character in a pickle. At the least, it has prompted the need for new solutions to new problems. How the character reacts to this dilemma and what he decides to do about it will provide the bridge between this scene and the next scene. The decision does not necessarily need to be explicitly outlined, since it will be more fully dramatized as the goal in the next section, but you should at least lead right up to it.

Although Robert’s excerpt may indeed go on to do just this, what we see here focuses entirely on the Empress’s reaction. There are hints of her future dilemmas, but no clear sense where the next scene may lead—and therefore little momentum pulling readers forward. If I were to randomly pick this book up at this scene, I might keep reading thanks solely to the excellent writing, but were it not for that, the lack of a proper hook into the next scene would probably cause me to stop here.


Strong sequel scenes can make or break a book. Learning to include them is a foundational step. Learning to write them into deeply interesting and integral pieces of your plot will ensure readers never look away.

My thanks to Robert for sharing his excerpt, and my best wishes for his story’s success. Stay tuned for more analysis posts in the future!

You can find previous excerpt analyses linked below:

Wordplayers, tell me your opinions! Do you consciously write sequel scenes in your story? Or do you prefer a different approach to scene structure? Tell me in the comments!

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About K.M. Weiland | @KMWeiland

K.M. Weiland is the award-winning and internationally-published author of the acclaimed writing guides Outlining Your Novel, Structuring Your Novel, and Creating Character Arcs. A native of western Nebraska, she writes historical and fantasy novels and mentors authors on her award-winning website Helping Writers Become Authors.


  1. Eric Troyer says

    Excellent post and great piece of writing! I have been working to improve my scene structure, so this really helps. As I read the excerpt, the first thing that came to my mind is what Katie pointed out in #3. Some of that Tzeria Aetos was thinking about didn’t ring true because we rarely think of ourselves in Third Person. I wanted some of this to come out in dialogue. An advisor would work, as Katie suggested. Especially if Tzeria Aetos wanted to be alone but the advisor would not leave or appeared from the shadows. Great conflict! As a way to help myself with these situations, I have been writing my WIP first draft as a movie script. That really helps to focus on dialogue and action, especially during Sequels. Thanks to both Katie and Robert for creating a great post!

    • K.M. Weiland | @KMWeiland says

      Yes, it’s good to realize that just because the “scene” part focuses on “conflict” and the “sequel” part focuses on “reaction,” this doesn’t mean there still can be conflict of some sort in the sequel.

      • Been busy and away from this for awhile, but am trying to get back into the uncompleted chapter…

        This scene structure had been a bit difficult but I’m also conceiving the action/reaction doesn’t have to line up perfectly with settings or chapters. Right now my characters are at a birthday party that covers several hours, in one chapter, but there will be several action/reaction pairs – and the first of those started in a previous setting.

        Joe the protagonist picks up Hannah his lover interest after school and they stop to get something to eat – but the waitress is flirty and bends over this way and that, and Joe’s attentive while Hannah is peeved. She tells him as soon as they reach the parking lot, and he’s a little taken back. Days later, at her parent’s house, it picks up right where they left off, as she insists “I’m fine”

        Enter her brother, the birthday boy, and his girlfriend. A bit of info is shared and Joe thinks Susie might be an ally, telling him he’s not so wrong after all. Small talk reveals some of her backstory, to be used later on, then he gets to the question ans she says “are you bleeping stupid, or what?” He needs to work on that self awareness thing for character development. Then she asks “Are you giving her reasons not to trust you? Think about it.”

        Still same setting, but it covers several hours and not only the Steelers are on the TV but it’s the last game of the year for the Pirates. Joe has to know if they are going to the playoffs or not, so he retreats to where he can listen on the radio. Hannah has to come and get him, Joe gives a good explanation of fandom, but Hannah lectures him on priorities. Find a balance between what makes himself happy with what he’s expected to do for others.

        And once I finish that, onto the next where he gives her yet another reason not to trust him.

        • K.M. Weiland | @KMWeiland says

          Yes, a structural scene can span many chapters, or a single chapter can include multiple short structural scene units.

  2. Robert’s prose truly has beauty and richness.

    Katie having read your pages for awhile, it seems like a lot of your followers are gravitating to writing fantasy/alternative worlds. As a fan of George R.R. Martin, I can’t help wonder if his influence has impacted new authors. In any event, it’s a big and popular category and readers usually want more of a genre that has captured their interest. It also does seem like a crowded genre.

    • K.M. Weiland | @KMWeiland says

      Yes, many of the excerpts I’ve received are fantasy or spec fic of some sort. Fantasy is a popular genre for many reasons, but not least, I think, because it is so deeply archetypal and metaphoric. It’s a genre that allows us to comment upon our deeper selves without being blatantly obvious about it.

  3. “Sequel scene” is an oxymoron. I wish people would not invent nonsensical, incorrect terms because they are afraid of not being understood.

    • K.M. Weiland | @KMWeiland says

      Yes, I dislike the “classic” terminology for scene structure as well. If I had it to do over, I would probably have started teaching it with different terms. But I maintain them now because I feel it would be too confusing to change horses midstream.

  4. I found this confusing. Could you expand a little?

    You wrote the ‘classic scene structure’ has part two parts. The first is named “scene”, the second is named “sequel.” Is part 1 intended to be the entire scene and part 2 a separate “sequel scene?” Perhaps I am confused because the first part is called “scene” but it is not the entire scene.

    Just after that you wrote “The sequel is also the bridge to the next scene goal, in which characters figure out how to respond and what to do next.”

    I understood that to mean “”The sequel is also the bridge to the goal in the next scene,”
    There are not two goals within the current scene.

    Thanks for your patience. I have a unique brain that is sometimes a gift and sometimes a burden.

  5. Great teaching exercise and new tips to improve my scenes. I love the concept of action and reaction.
    Thanks, K.

  6. Plowman’s use of description was phenomenal. I would read this novel whether it was in my genre or not!

  7. I like what you said in Point 4 about pulling the reader forward into the story. When a character gets to the point of “well, that happened, now what,” I often get stuck. I think it’s because I don’t consider what the character is processing just then, and this can make a plot feel contrived instead of organic (and possibly what sometimes makes writing feel like dentistry).

    • K.M. Weiland | @KMWeiland says

      The reaction phase is arguably the single most important aspect of a novel for grounding its realism. It gives us the opportunity to really get inside a character’s head.

  8. Emily Ballain says

    Great post, as always. 🙂

    Though I may stray a bit from strictly “traditional” scene structure (I’m not a plotter), I love how reaction scenes can show character growth. I have found the length of character reactions depend greatly on the character’s personality and where they are on their journey.

    For example, I have a protagonist who thinks and plans carefully, and he can take a short chapter to react to any turn of events. But my main character (Yes, they’re two different people. 🙂 ) is impetuous. At the start of the book, if he takes a paragraph or two to consider a situation, he’s doing pretty well. However, the length and depth of his reactions grow as he matures, so that toward the end, he commands more space for reaction. He needs it. He’s not the same kid who started the story.

    Also, I wonder if Robert’s excerpt is the end of the book. It feels like one, in which case her reaction may be the perfect length. Robert does a wonderful job of building thoughts on top of each other until they finally break into emotion at the end. Lovely.

  9. Usvaldo de Leon says

    Sequel is a bit like quadratic equations for me. Thank you for going over the homework in class.

  10. No, I don’t really write sequel scenes. I’ve tried to do this method; but honestly, I got bored and it just takes too long for me to tolerate in outlining every scene before my 1st draft. At the same time, I guess I kind of write sequel scenes a little, just not like this. My scene process is pretty simple and quick, but still involves the concept of characters’ actions and reactions. I find it easier for me to just write a series of distinctive plot points in a sequential order (usually 8 of them) to make up each of my plots (main & sub plot).

    These plot points I split up into three acts, but mostly for a guide of direction. For the most part, I think of my characters as the actors. I’m the director and build the sets (or settings), but my characters say their own lines. I pretty much outline the basics (the skeleton) and flesh out the rest by filling in the blanks as I write the 1st draft, which sometimes tends to include taking notes on the side whether on paper or my phone writing app. But that’s just me.

    • K.M. Weiland | @KMWeiland says

      Most of us instinctively build in beats of action and reaction, even if we’re not consciously structuring scenes/sequels.

  11. My first chapter ends with the protagonist asking herself a reflective question (Scene sequel-Reaction) after the Goal/Conflict/Disaster. This seemed to be a good close for the chapter and it’s a form of mini-cliffhanger.

    The next chapter introduces the B-story. Chapter 3 takes place at a different location, but really deals with the Dilemma/Decision from the first chapter scene, which leads to a point of no return for the protagonist—they are all in at that point.

    The question is, can the conclusion of a scene’s sequel fall several chapters later (after switching to the B-story)?

    • K.M. Weiland | @KMWeiland says

      Yes, as long as the cycle is at least sketched all the way through at some point, the full structure doesn’t have to be immediately sequential.

  12. Dennis Michael Montgomery says

    Good essay. Much to think about.

    I would to read Mr. Robert Plowman’s book, but I can’t find it. Where is it?

  13. Patrick K Macy says

    Thank you KM, this, again, was a helpful post.
    Is this scene/sequel structure also used in short stories, or would it extend the story length?

    • K.M. Weiland | @KMWeiland says

      The same principle applies. However, a short story offers more room for obvious variation. For example, the short story may be *just* the scene part or *just* the sequel part. Or it may “tell” either the scene or sequel part in as little as a sentence, rather than fully fleshing it out. It depends on the pacing and how experimental the piece is.

      • Eric Troyer says

        Interesting. I hadn’t thought about the scene cycle in relation to short stories, but it seems like a good structure to use, at least to get your head around the shape of your story.

  14. This may be a little pointed, but I keep bouncing back and forth between the scene/sequel breakdown and the simple 3-act story as laid out in Save the Cat by Blake Snyder.

    Part of me is a technical type of guy, so I tend to like to look deeper into things and that is why I keep buying your books on writing, but the other part tends to go for the KISS approach (Keep It Simple S…) and as Einstein said, “Everything should be made as simple as possible, but no simpler.”

    Why do you feel the scene/sequel approach is a better way to structure a story?

    • K.M. Weiland | @KMWeiland says

      Scene structure is a separate animal from plot structure, which is what Snyder talks about (and it should also be noted that Snyder is specifically addressing screenwriting). Plot structure, or the structure of acts, addresses the entirety of the story, on the macro level. Scene structure is about the development of scenes on a micro level.

      • Thank you. Now I see why I was confused and maybe still am.

        Right now I am re-reading your Structuring Your Novel book. I have Outlining Your Novel as well, but I don’t think that will help as much.

        Is there another book you might recommend to better grasp the micro level?

        Thanks in advance.

    • Eric Troyer says

      I use several structure theories for for overall structure, including Katie’s book and Save the Cat. They are all good to use to compare and contrast the shape of my story. The Scene Cycle approach is good for closer in. I am also a proponent of KISS, but I’ve found that if you want your story to appear KISS to the reader, you have to do a lot of work behind the scenes.

  15. Thank you! I’ve picked up Bickham’s book. Let’s see what I learn. 🙂

  16. Robert Plowman says

    Oh my goodness! Imagine my surprise when I opened your blog today and saw my name. I am flattered that you used my excerpt as an example, especially as a positive example, and for all your compliments. Thank you so very much!

    Truthfully, I had completely forgotten that I had sent this excerpt to you. It must have been a few years ago. I finished the story in 2018 and submitted a few agent queries, with no result. Since then it has gone cold and mostly forgotten. Your positive comments might inspire me to work on it again.

    I only started writing in 2015. Your blog and your books were the first “how to” guides I read, and I found them to be very helpful. In the years since, through Kindle Unlimited, I have read scores of books on writing. Your material ranks as some of the best out there, and I still read your blog every week. Thank you for all the effort you put into it.

    To everyone else who commented, thank you! I’m glad all of you enjoyed it.

    • K.M. Weiland | @KMWeiland says

      My pleasure! Thanks for sharing the excerpt those years ago! I’m glad to hear you’ve revived the story, since it definitely seems to me as if it has a lot of potential.

  17. Thanks Katie.
    Your attention to detail is appreciated
    I’ve been using the Fictionary Storyteller program to edit my latest novel and up to now, never quite understood how to tag my scenes using the Action/Sequel button.
    It’s clarified and provided the missing link.

    • K.M. Weiland | @KMWeiland says

      Yes, I remember figuring that for the first time in the yWriter program. It was exciting. :p

  18. TBH I had my arms crossed, already in Resistance Mode, when I started reading this – until you made the point that a good reaction scene should not be a rehash. Voila! That’s the resistance I had. I had recently read some books that got me so irritated when they spent the first half of a new chapter telling me what I just read in the previous chapter. I do agree the sample scene above is well-written and intriguing. I look forward to adding the reaction scene to my tool bag. Also very cool to see the author of that scene in the comments above. Best of luck publishing that project!

    • K.M. Weiland | @KMWeiland says

      Good reaction scenes should need to repeat very little rather. The reaction itself should be the new info at the heart of the scene.

  19. In Robert Plowman’s excerpt, I was a bit confused with the sentence structure. In your book “Structuring Your Novel” I read about the issues with sentences and one of them was on participle phrases. Your example of a bad sentence was: (as best as I can remember it) Grabbing her pet monkey, she lept onto it’s back.

    It reminded me of several sentences in the excerpt. Like: “I entered and the doors creaked shut, closing with a dull boom.” “I climbed four broad steps and sat down, tapping my fingers on the rock-like skulls.”

    Is this correct structure? Because I do it all the time in my own writing, but since it sounds so close to what you said not to do in Structuring Your Novel, I tried to break the habit.

    • K.M. Weiland | @KMWeiland says

      Both of these are correct, in that the participle phrase modifies the correct subject (“doors” and “I,” respectively). The second sentence is a little shaky, since the participle is supposed to indicate actions happening simultaneously, and the finger tapping is likely to happen only after she has sat down. There’s nothing wrong with participles as long as they’re structured correctly, but they should always be used sparingly at best.

  20. It feels to me, that when a sentence is structured as such: “I climbed four broad steps and sat down, tapping my fingers on the rock-like skulls.” I could be used as a tool to increase tension.

    • I definitely agree. Sometimes it can get pretty confusing though, if I use to many participle phrases. I probably use them too much and too often, but since it’s just something I’ve always done in my writing, I guess it’s okay to leave one or two of the ones that actually make sense.

    • K.M. Weiland | @KMWeiland says

      This is true, but the sentence must be structurally correct in that it is not incorrectly indicating that two things are happening simultaneously when really they are happening sequentially.

  21. All these critique posts have been great and I found myself especially enjoying this one. I’m sure in part because of the excellent writing but also because I can see how much your suggestions could improve what I think is an already great sequel scene.
    This really helps me examine my own reaction scenes under the microscope to see if they’re really accomplishing what they ought. Thanks!

  22. Got it! Thanks.

  23. Katie and others,

    This is a really interesting post about the “craft” of writing and as such of great help to all writers everywhere. Bravo for that.

    I like the idea of scene and sequel and it is helpful in developing a good beat to a story. I suspect all writers use it either deliberately or subconsciously. Knowing that it is important and something to make space for is really useful in story development. Hence, this post is a welcome addition and, as always, very helpful.

    That said, there is a criticism here of this extract–and one that I think every writer needs to be aware of. It isn’t about pacing, or writing competence. But about the forward momentum in the story. We are told it is around the mid-point of the story. It doesn’t feel like it. I have to agree with one comment that this reads like the end of the story. And as such, surely, it has little place at the midpoint?

    Presumably, the enemy has been driven off–but not defeated–and the city is in ruins–and needs rebuilding–and the new empress has just got the throne by unorthodox means–so there’s a challenge right there. But we don’t really get a good feel for the outstanding challenges.

    I fully agree, as it stands, it helps character development and gives us insights into the character’s journey. That said, surely, some of this might have come earlier in the story? One can guess, she felt obliged to come to the city’s rescue given her part in creating the mess in the first place. Wouldn’t that be the point at which she agonised over events?

    Just askin’

    • K.M. Weiland | @KMWeiland says

      My perspective is that some of the reason this scene feels like a finale is precisely *because* of its heavy recap (and the adjoining lack of forward momentum). However, inherently, it doesn’t seem problematic as a Midpoint. Indeed, if the surrounding structure is supportive, it could signal a strong shift from the protagonist in a relatively reactive phase in the first half to a strongly active phase, as she begins ruling, in the second half.


  1. […] a term that everyone uses, but I failed miserably.  So I was thrilled the other day when I saw this post on 4 Ways to Write Sequels by K.M. […]

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