The living problem of ACT II Storytelling #AuthorToolboxBlogHop

Author Toolbox Blog Hop

The Author Toolbox Blog Hop is “a monthly blog hop on the theme of resources/learning for authors: posts related to the craft of writing, editing, querying, marketing, publishing, blogging tips for authors, reviews of author-related products, anything that an author would find helpful.” Want to jump into the writing tool box? Search #AuthorToolboxBlogHop or to join via blog, click here.

Thank you Raimey!

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  I don’t know many people who run into drama and maximal conflict with their arms wide-open, ready to face off with someone near and dear to them, ready to cut them off or curse them to infinity and beyond, excited about being alone because trust is something we no longer know.

  Welcome to the world of writing ACT II.

  In 90 Days to Your Novel, Sarah Domet states, in real life, we are “conflict adverse … We strive to stay out of trouble and make decisions to bring us as close as possible to our desired outcomes … unless seriously provoked.”

   I reread this page just yesterday. I reread it over and over because finally, I’ve been given permission to do a very hard thing for me, create tension, difficult tension, which might really hurt the characters we breathe life into.

  ACT I is the introduction to your character and the world. ACT II is what Domet calls “the story.”

  In the Hunger Games … ACT I shows us Katniss as a realistic survivor whose mission is to provide for her younger sister because her father is dead and her mother lost herself while grieving. Katniss has one trusted friend with the same survival mission. Life is as it is. Then suddenly she finds herself at the name drawing ceremony when a boy and girl will enter an Olympian style fight to the death. Her younger sister is selected. Shocked, Katniss volunteers to take her place. ACT II begins on the train on the way to capital where she’s exposed to her wildest fantasies of food, clothing and the comforts of what was once an unattainable lifestyle. Her perception of what she is has to change. She must become pretty and fake. She must make allies of people she may one day kill. Survival is not just about skill anymore, and can she play a different version of herself to survive for her sister against her internal nature?

  In Jane Eyre … Act I is all about a young ordinary orphan growing up devote to her christian faith and unwilling to compromise her internal character. Finally free of a hateful aunt and an orphanage, she takes a well respected position as a governess. ACT II is all about her conversations with a sour older patron of the home. Unexpectedly, she develops feelings for the patron. When she finds out he loves her too, she falls hard and her love challenges her internal strength and christian devotion where she must ultimately make the choice between her faith and her strength, or, the only love she’s ever known.

 

  How do we take away what our characters want the most?

  • According to 90 Days to Your Novel, the best place to start is a timeline of events between ACT 1 and ACT 2.
  • Note the plot points of wants and needs.
  • Ask yourself how you keep your character from getting what he or she truly wants along the way.
  • Ask yourself, What continues to keep her/him from getting it and how can I deepen the conflict? 
  • How does the character motive and wants contribute to the action into deeper conflict?
  • Lastly, what points are left to get him or her to the climax, when finally you are free of ACT II.

Remember, bad things happen to all of us. Bad things must happen to your beloved characters. So as you write through ACT II remember this: Don’t give your MC this deep want or desire. ACT III is the choice of this attainment.

Additional Sources:

https://stevenpressfield.com/2010/06/second-act-problems/

https://www.emwelsh.com/blog/writing-act-two

https://www.well-storied.com/blog/second-act?rq=act%20two

The Month of May is Wonder #IWSG

[I wrote this post as a member of the Insecure Writer’s Support Group where we share our worries and also offer support and encouragement to each other on the first Wednesday of every month. If you’re a writer like me and you’re looking for a bit of support, you can click the link and sign up here]

This month’s awesome hosts areJQ Rose, C. Lee McKenzie, Raimey Gallant, & E.M.A Timar!

And thank you to founder Alex J. Cavaugh 🙂

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I love the month of May. As a kid I’d look forward to outdoor adventures in tents near the lake, or in the middle of Kansas on my dad’s land in a grove of trees staked inside a dried up river bed. I’d live imagined adventures and dream of characters I’d read about in books.

Maybe it’s the warmth. Maybe it’s the way sunlight slips into every crack of life. From early good mornings to lingering evening sunsets, reminding me how peaceful endings are always possible no matter what happened in my day.

This month’s IWSG question asks; “It’s spring! Does this season inspire you to write more than others, or not?”

Most mornings, I tip-toe down the steps to my writing workstation just off the side of the kitchen island. I brew my coffee and open the Celtic patterned curtains because lately, the sun is already peeking over the horizon. The birds are clearly awake too, chirping in the trees. Just yesterday, I glimpsed a couple of rabbits outside wrestling around in the grass in my backyard.

My answer is yes.

I’ve always loved spring. I’ve always loved flowers. Sunshine motivates me and trickles into my thoughts, changes my words sometimes, and my fast flying fingers sing.

Currently, I’m researching solid historical patterns before I revamp an old manuscript. I’m also waiting on edits from my last new YA Sci-Fi and I am very nervous, but with the sunshine over my shoulder, each day feels a little brighter.

On the reading side, I also just finished reading Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell. It’s fantastic if you like YA.

So if May is your month like me, then why not use it to best of your goals and dreams? Even if it’s not, there’s something good to be found in every season.

Happy Wednesday, IWSG Day all.

Sequencing human interaction #AuthorToolboxBlogHop

Author Toolbox Blog Hop

The Author Toolbox Blog Hop is “a monthly blog hop on the theme of resources/learning for authors: posts related to the craft of writing, editing, querying, marketing, publishing, blogging tips for authors, reviews of author-related products, anything that an author would find helpful.” Want to jump into the writing tool box? Search #AuthorToolboxBlogHop or to join via blog, click here.

Thank you Raimey!

***

When we speak, a series of steps has already occurred:

  • An external action
  • An emotional reaction
  • A thought blooms from the above mentioned steps.

The result is return dialogue or reactive action.

It’s human nature.

Writing scenes and paragraphs should ideally follow the same logic we use when we speak or react.

Writer’s Digest suggests: “… get your reader to invest emotionally in your character, and you’ve laid the foundation for every action scene.”

A year ago, I came across a writing article on sequencing sentences. I hadn’t thought about the pattern of action, emotion, thought and reaction. I didn’t know how much it mattered until I wrote for it. I wish I could find the article and share it today. *Big shoulder sigh.* I lost it in the move to my new home over the summer.

Consider two examples:

Example One

    The moment Henry stepped out of the door of his apartment complex, he shivered with a chill then violently sneezed three times. With his shoulders arched up, he froze under the awning. Germs. He hated them. They hated him. Or at least he’d pictured it as an even exchange to survive.

   Henry’s hand trembled as he reached into his back pocket for his hand sanitizer, but stopped short with his thumb resting on the ridges of the cap. Something in the wind drew him. A cry so soft it couldn’t be a man or woman. A lamb? No, not in L.A. 

   He listened, shuffling down another couple of steps to the paved walkway.

   There. In the shadows. The barely there cry came again.

Example Two

    The moment Henry stepped out the door of his apartment complex, he shivered with a chill then violently sneezed three times. He removed his sanitizer from his back pocket and shuffled down the steps. Cars zoomed past the street. The wind tickled his nose. He shuffled backwards and peered around the corner of the building. He swore he heard a sound. A cry. Soft, like a lamb, urgent and hungry.

What’s Different?

    In the first example, Henry is moving, leaving his apartment when an outside irritant stings his nose and he sneezes (external influence/action).  He hates sneezing (thinking). He reacts to his phobia of germs and reaches in his pocket for his hand sanitizer (result of what we are thinking).

    In the second passage, we go from action to action to action. We miss a point about the character. We miss his phobia. We miss the connection between the first action and the second action. Then we miss the reason why he turned and went back to the building.

   So as we write, don’t forget motive, intention, and the process which leads our characters into action. Write for logic and sequence.

Celebrate the Small Things: Manifest Self-Miracles #FridayFeeling

Fridays are all about celebrating the Small Things thanks to a weekly blog hop created by author Lexa Cain. Joint co-hosts this week are authors L.G. Keltner @ Writing Off The Edge Tonja Drecker @ Kidbits Blog The mission coincides with what I’m hoping to do with my own writing, inspire and focus on the light when those slippery shadows creep around our shoes. Want to sign up? Click Lexa Cain’s link to find out more.

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Do you make lists?

Do you write notes to remember tasks you need to do?

Have you ever made a list about all the good things about you?

I’m revisiting an old blog hop called Celebrate the Small Things. It’s a wonderful way to remember all the sunshine in a day when skies seem dark and the wind is so cold you can’t seem to find any warmth, on the inside.

This week I’m picking self -miracles. Those choices you’ve made in your life because you believed in yourself and the work you knew you’d have to do, but you did it anyway.

The idea for today’s post came from my son’s homework assignment. I’ve spent the last two days home with my son who’s had a fever. He had a reading passage on Jackie Robinson, a famous American baseball player, and I enjoyed reading it and reflecting on the questions as much as my son did. Mr. Robinson believed in himself. Mr. Robinson inspired me. I’ve been reflecting of specific choices I’ve made to focus on being a mother these past almost 10 years, and to also live a few of my deeper passions by giving up some larger less weighted ones.

So how am I manifesting self- miracles?

I’m celebrating two accomplishments this week. On the work side, I built a bridge in the office and really listened to what others were saying in order to develop graphic concepts that mattered to a team and not just me.

On the personal side, I’m celebrating my choice to leave a fast-paced traveling career so I could be there as a mother for my two little ones. My son has had a fever for half the week and I’m thankful I’ve been home with him. I’m thankful my current job is so understanding. I’m thankful I’m a short distance away from my kids’ school so I can be there in the event of any emergency. So I can have lunch with each of them once a week. So I can meet all their friends and be involved with their lives.

The key to self-miracles from what I understand, is believing in yourself so much, you “bet on yourself.” You realize what you want and love and need, and you go for it.

As a result of “betting on you,” tiny miracles begin to grow. Faith begins to grow and take over. Before you know it, you’re growing too.

Happy Friday, all. Make that list 😉

“This ain’t fun. But you watch me, I’ll get it done.” ~ Jackie Robinson