FULL-COURSE MEAL

HOW TO WRITE ACT 2

If we think of our novels as an elegant dinner, then we can break it down like this. You’re sitting and having a good time with your friends, and then the chef brings out the T-bone steak that has been cooked to perfection (or the broccoli covered pasta flavored with wine sauce for all the Vegans out there). This is the reason that you came to dinner.

Act 2 is much the same way. Your characters have been set up, the odds are against them, and the task is much too difficult for your characters to overcome. Act 2 shows how your characters dig within to find the answers to the difficulties that they are facing.

Remember the post from yesterday (ACT 1) with Adam, Braley, Cayla, and Daniel. These are our characters’ main goals.

1. We want Adam to slay the dragon.
2. We want Braley to forgive her parents’ abandonment of her.
3. We want Cayla to overcome her indecision.
4. We want Daniel to become the rightful heir.

Act 2 should push these goals to their limits by showing you why the characters will not be able to accomplish what’s in their hearts.

1. Adam can’t slay the dragon because the Sword of the Seven Rivers requires that its user must first kill the person he loves most – which in our story is Braley.

See where this is going. Now we have a conflict. What’s more important to Adam: slaying the dragon or keeping the woman he loves alive?

2. Braley can’t forgive her parents because they abadoned her, but then she finds out that they’ve been captured by the overload Vayne who is going to offer her parents as a tribute to the dragon, hoping to appease the beast for another decade.

What is Braley going to do? Is she going to let her unforgiveness be the reason that her parents are murdered?

3. Cayla can’t overcome her indecision, but Adam is captured by a band of marauders who want to steal the sword for themselves and gain the bounty from the king.

Cayla must decide if she is going to let Adam lose the sword, or if she is going to woman-up and go and save Adam.

4. Daniel can’t become the rightful heir as long as his father is alive.

Does he kill the king, or does he find another means to become the ruler of the empire?

These elements will add so much power and suspense to your story. One final thought: notice how the story is not plot-driven by any means. We allow the characters to tell their own stories.

Thanks for stopping by. I hope you’ll read tomorrow’s post for Act 3!

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