Writing Time, Part 51. Act Two – Let the Games Begin

runningmanThe big thing about Act II, or the middle of the story, is that it really is an enormous deal. Blake Snyder in his brilliant Save the Cat wrote that Act II is what the audience pays their entry money for. Here’s where the promise of genre is honoured with adventures that are not just exciting, but meaningful.

How to make these adventures meaningful?

No matter the genre, we return to story structure that endures from The Odyssey to the great book you’re reading today. In every adventure your protagonist experiences in Act 11, that protagonist must learn and become more than he was, through making choices, believably, that he would never previously have made. As well, it’s wise to remember what John Saul said about writing success – that is, until he realized that he was plotting along a straight line to the story goal, and his books were rejected. As soon as he began writing in a non-linear fashion, setting up surprise turns and then surprising the protagonist (as per Indiana Jones: I hate snakes) and readers as well, success was his.

Plotting isn’t easy, but then we’re not in the writing game because it’s easy. We’re in it to please ourselves and our readers, and to make some money through honest toil.

I wish you another brilliant writing week. Cheers Mel

muse smallThis week from @yourwritingmuse: You create strong frameworks for storytelling, no doubt because you think so hard about your story arcs.  From your Writing Muse

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