Sunday, February 21, 2010

Day 36 - 2199 Words - Act Two Crisis Hooray!

I love the smell of a plot coming together in the morning!

I finally hit the right combo for the End-of-Act-2 Crisis. I was just playing with the logistical stuff. Little details involving where is this person's cell phone, and how did that happen, and where did they get the bandages....

And then just suddenly something happened that just scooped up every one of those trivial details into a single unified field theory. And it totally blew the lid off the joint emotionally. Unites the A Plot with the B Plot.

The end of Act 2, which is about three quarters of the way into a story (especially if you're dealing with screenplays, but I find it works with books too) is such a critical moment. You could say it's the collision that the whole first part of the story is heading for, and it's what's being untangled in the denouement. If you get that just right, the rest becomes much easier.

I'm sure anybody writing a Jerry Bruckheimer movie knows just how many planes, cars and buildings will be destroyed at the end of Act 2, and where it's going to happen -- and how many megatons of water or explosives will be involved -- long before the rest of the script is done. But when I'm writing a book, this is often a late piece of the puzzle. Because it's the connector.

I generally have an idea of the major problem of the ending, and I know my begining and how it develops - but until I have my details I don't always know what the compelling crisis will be that drives the earlier stuff into the ending stuff. I just know that at that point, everything has to fall apart. It's what Blake Snyder calls "the long dark night of the soul" and it pushes the characters hard.

Running Total: 35605 Words.

35605 / 70000 words. 51% done!

In Today's Pages: Oh, lots of stuff! Lots and lots of good stuff.


Kathy McIntosh said...

Fantastic. You've passed the half-way mark. I find I rarely have enough of those little "humping up the hill" crises that keep the reader interested and have to add them in another draft. So good on you!

The Daring Novelist said...

In this case it isn't a little crisis, but the major crisis of the story. Once I've got that, the little crises are a lot easier to do.