I didn’t run off to explore the structure of an argumentative essay yesterday as you may have suspected. I’d already reached out to the Internet to help me refine—or embelish—my understanding of a sequel’s elements, so I finished that up. What I uncovered amused me more than elevated my understanding. The author I pedastle for illuminating scene and sequel structure for me appears to have been building from the prior work of his teacher. The similarities between their language was so strong that at first I thought maybe one had plagarized the other. Then, when I saw they had the same university press publisher, I thought maybe one was just the pseudonym of the other. Finally, the acknowledgement in the latter’s book made the relationship between the two clear.
This morning I explored an argument’s structure. That structure isn’t quite as bulletable as Bickham’s (via Swain) outline for sequels, but it is describable. I wasn’t surprised to find a modification of the core introduction-body-conclusion structure of any essay. I was pleased to find something I hadn’t expected following the conclusion however: next steps.
I’ve not yet taken action to meld the parts of a sequel to the relating parts of an argument—I don’t know that I will—but I’m sensing strong parallels between the two. As I see it, the point of a sequel is to demonstrate to the reader that the character has become believably convinced to do something based on the events of the preceding scenes. The character effectively argues points of evidence until they arrive at a decision then they take action.
The first element of a sequel, emotion, isn’t resolving as easily as the last three elements. I don’t think it must, but it would be elegant if it did. Maybe the character’s emotions are like the introduction of the arguement. Why the character is even considering these various points of argument. That seems like a stretch and requires that I slip in the relating element for the thesis statement. An element a character might not have ahead of their thinking.
Maybe that’s the trick. Emotionally driven characters will jump to a thesis statement type conclusion ahead of any substantial arguments whereas a more practically driven character will take the time to support or undermine their own initial reaction to the the prior scene. Spend more time ahead of the thesis on emotion and very little on the argument for one character. Spend more time weighing the facts for another.
Photo courtesy of Andrew Malone.
413 words on day 992