So the first part of Act One is two parallel scenes: Nita vs. Button and Nick vs Vinnie. Or, if you will, two determined drunk people against two determined sober people. In the first scene, Nita wins because she convinces Button it’s important to get out of the car and investigate. In the second scene, Nick wins because he terrorizes Vinnie into giving him information. And both winners want the same thing: To find out what’s going wrong on the island and get the person who ordered Joey’s death. The scenes are parallel, but they’re not identical.
The key to parallel scenes is to make them enough alike that they feel as if they belong together, that they’re part of a whole, but keep them different enough that people don’t feel as though they’re reading the same scene with different people. Then having introduced two powerful (hey, they won) protagonists, it’s time to bring them together while developing the plot. In this case, the plot is complex enough that introducing their relationship is going to take more than one scene. In fact, it’s going to take a scene sequence.
A scene sequence is a set of scenes defined by an opening and closing that are a unified whole, linked by a conflict and goal that shift slightly because the PoV character shifts. Scenes Three through Six of Nita can be summed up by “Nita enters a bar” and “Nita leaves a bar.” But they can also be described as “Nita enters the bar to find out what happened to Joey, meets an extremely suspicious character, and interrogates him, confirming her suspicions that there’s something wrong there.” The scenes shift back and forth between Nita and Nick, but Nita is always the focal character.
The key to handling those shifts is they have to happen organically, not just because you want another charater’s PoV. In this sequence, we start in Nita’s PoV–it’s her sequence–then shift to Nick when he gets a phone call and leaves the group. If he stayed with the group, it would be an awkward shift, but because he takes the phone and moves into another part of the bar, there’s enough of a break in setting that it justifies the shift. That is, scenes shift because of a change of time or place; that how readers are trained to interpret white space. Nick’s scene is over when he hangs up the phone and moves back to Nita because he sees her doing something he wants to stop and hangs up to join her again; when he hangs up on Belia, his antagonist, that conflict is over and the scene is over. The sequence then shifts back to Nita and stays with her as Nick joins them and only ends when Nita passes out, effectively ending her PoV. The scene then has to shift to Nick, who keeps the PoV until Nita walks out of the bar, ending their conflict and the scene sequence. It’s tempting to just shift to a PoV character whenever you want the other person’s PoV, but to keep the sequence coherent, there has to be some reason for the shift, something that ends the previous scene and requires white space and a new scene without breaking the flow of the scene sequence:
Transition: Nita enters the bar in the last lines of the previous scene.
3. Nita vs. Vinnie: Nita tries to find out what’s going on, aware of Nick but dismissing him to get to Vinnie while he’s drunk and vulnerable, just as Nick is merely curious about her in the beginning. As the scene progresses, they become aware of each other as out-of-the-normal, and their focuses shift.
Transition: The phone rings and Nick physically moves away to talk to Belial.
4. Nick vs. Belia: Nick gives Belia orders while watching Nita, and including orders to investigate her. His PoV but the focus is on Nita.
Transition: He sees Rab join Nita and hangs up to go back to them before Rab does something horrible.
5. Nita vs. Nick: She talks to Rab first, but she’s asking about Nick, investigating him now, so when he joins them, she interrogates him directly.
Transition: Nita passes out and takes her PoV with her.
6. Nick vs. Nita: She’s out for the first part of this but he’s still focused on her, trying to figure out what happened, ordering the boys to investigate; then she comes around again. His PoV, but the focus is on her.
Transition: Nita leaves and the scene sequence ends.
So each scene has a protagonist, antagonist, conflict, and arc, but so does the sequence: Nita’s investigating, Nick’s stonewalling, they’re both suspicious of each other and struggling with each other, so that all four scenes combine into that one struggle that begins when Nita enters the bar and ends when she walks out. That’s what makes a scene sequence: Each scene is complete on its own, but the sequence is also a complete narrative arc. Just like scenes are mini-stories, so are scene sequences.
If you’ve forgotten those four scenes, here’s the truck draft rewrite.