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Home » What is a Sequence? What is the Best Sequence for Creative Writing?

What is a Sequence? What is the Best Sequence for Creative Writing?

A sequence is a group of connected events that take place in the same order on each repetition. A sequence can be used to represent the repetitive and methodical process of doing something (e.g., writing, performing, or baking). This can be contrasted with a random event, which we could define as something that occurs unexpectedly or indiscriminately.

While some writers like Marcel Proust and James Joyce were highly experimental and non-linear in their approach to creative writing, more often than not, sequences are considered to be the purview of practical or academic writers. Writers will often use a plot or outline to follow and provide some structure to their story. However, as mentioned above, the narrative structure of a story can be non-linear.

What is the Best Sequence for Creative Writing?

This is a common question among writers who want to know the optimum sequence for writing a particular story. It can be helpful to view a sequence as a tool for achieving certain results, which we will discuss in more detail below. For now, it is important to remember that there is no such thing as the “best” sequence for any type of writing. Every author, no matter their experience or training, has to find their own way and settle on what feels right for them.

In general, creative writing sequences usually start with a hook or some intriguing material that will keep the reader’s attention. After the opening, the author will usually move into the middle of the story and advance the narrative quickly. Finally, the ending will bring the reader back to the beginning and provide some type of closure or resolution. This is the most common and basic structure that can be used for almost any type of story.

The structure can vary, but the three-act structure seems to be the most popular choice among academic and professional writers. This is because it provides a clear division of the material and makes it easier for the writer to track their progress. Moreover, it allows the reader to more easily grasp the main conflict and theme of the story.

What is a Hook?

A hook is a bit of intriguing information that draws the reader in and makes them want to continue reading. It can be something as simple as a name or a place (e.g., Hook Island) or it can be a seemingly trivial detail (e.g., snow on the ground on Christmas Eve). Regardless, the goal is to find something that will pique the reader’s interest and keep them turning the page.

Hooks should be utilized carefully so as not to turn the reader away from the story. They should not be used too frequently or in an overly simplistic manner, as this can make the reader overlook the important details of the narrative. Instead, find places where you can sneak in a reference to something that is relevant to your story. For example, if your story is set in Dublin, Ireland, and you decide to include a reference to Saint Patrick’s Day, the whole atmosphere of the story will change.

The Middle

Once the author has managed to hook the reader, they will then move into the middle of the story and take the reader into the narrative. This is where the story actually begins and it is here that the author will reveal the conflict that they have been hiding up to this point. The conflict is basically what makes the story interesting or unique; it is the thing that the protagonist is fighting for or opposing. In writing, the conflict is usually presented through action (i.e., what the character does) rather than simply talking about it (i.e., their internal struggle).

The middle of the story is also where the author will introduce the theme of the work. This can be something as broad as “family” or “love” or it can be something more specific like “family conflict” or “jealousy”. Regardless, finding the theme of the story is initially a matter of chance, as it will emerge organically as you write. Once you discover it, you can use it to guide your writing.

Once the author has established the theme and conflict of their story, they will then progress into the ending. This is where the protagonist will finally overcome their conflict and achieve their goal. In the ending, the author should provide some type of resolution to the conflict and maintain the tension until the very end. The tension in the ending should be inversely proportional to the tension in the beginning. In other words, as the reader gets more and more invested in the outcome of the story, the tension should increase (as long as the story unfolds in a logical manner).

An important point to make here is that although the end will bring some sort of resolution to the conflict, it should not come at the expense of the story. One of the best examples of this is Ralph Ellison’s Invisible Man. In this novel, the conflict is simple and directly opposes the main character’s desire for acceptance and equality. At the end, the conflict is still present and the main character has not overcome their desire for equality. Instead, they have simply adjusted their goals to fit the new circumstances.


Once the main conflict has been presented and resolved, the author will then move into the closing of the story. This is where the protagonist’s journey is brought to a close and the author gives some sort of direction or message to the reader. It can be something as simple as “and they lived happily ever after” or it can be a more nuanced message that will resonate with the reader on a more personal level.

Regardless, the main purpose of the closing is to bring the narrative to a logical end and provide the reader with some type of takeaway or message. This is a relatively simple matter, but finding the right words can be difficult, especially if you are not a professional writer. This is why closing is usually the last part of the story and it is here that the author will demonstrate their skill as a writer.

As mentioned above, there is no such thing as the “best” sequence for a story. Instead, every author, no matter their experience or training, has to find their own way and settle on what feels right for them.