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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

Why You Should Celebrate You #IWSG #WednesdayMotivation

[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 are: Mary Aalgaard,Bish Denham,Jennifer Hawes,Diane Burton, and Gwen Gardner!

And thank you to founder Alex J. Cavaugh 🙂

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Years ago, I met someone at work who wasn’t excited about anything.

I sat with her in a conference room, trying to help her imagine what life might be like at work if she could just plan out all the ways she could take control of her tasks, her work life.

Then the tears came. She grabbed a box of kleenex and meekly said, “I can’t. I don’t want to be here. ”

She went on to say she wasn’t living her dreams or the life she really wanted. She felt out of control.

I was much younger then. I didn’t understand at first. But now I do.

Almost twelve years ago, I set a very big goal for myself. I decided I wanted to finally address the passion I’d harbored all my life and had ignored. Writing.

I didn’t know how to get started or what the steps to achieve my dream might look like. I had no formal training, and barely a friend who loved creative writing and would commit to the process the way I tend to commit to things.  What I did have though, was a very big idea, and I knew the best place to get started was to first get up. Every day. And think or write or read for at least an hour. I wrote and planned with a fiery fury.

I finished that first book. I also learned that the first book isn’t always as great as we think it will be and I cried. And then I realized something, after the gentle coaxing of my mother and my devoted friends. I’d finished something huge. I started somewhere, and I used everything in my power in each moment to finish that first huge task. They were right. I needed to celebrate that, and bought myself a new book, and let myself disappear into the story for several days, letting go of my own goals for a brief period of time. I found my smile again, and the will to keep trying.

Today, I’m still not where I want to be. But I celebrate. Then I work. Then I celebrate some more.

This month’s IWSG question asked: “How do you celebrate when you achiever a writing goal / finish a story?”

I may have taken a different route to answer the question, but I think the important thing we all should do when we celebrate is to do whatever makes our hearts feel good. We walk taller, smile brighter and find that joy or light again within ourselves. It’s the best way I know how to make it through the tough days. And that’s exactly what I showed the lady I worked with back then. We may not be able to influence where we are in a present moment, but every moment has potential and we can influence how we feel about it and work to change it. Don’t forget to celebrate that.

Celebrate the Small Things: Integrity and Respect Stems from the Inside #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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I am a believer in integrity.

Ever since I was a kid, I’ve known I see the world in bright, justly colors. I’ve known I strive to find the truth in all things: from the littlest dandelion growing in the yard, defending a poor little slug which the neighbor kid tried to destroy with salt, to friends I’ve met along the way who struggled with the truth and couldn’t sing it as it should have been. I believe in the truth and I try to give people the benefit of the doubt in telling it. I’m not perfect. No one is. I’ve withheld it myself in fear from time to time, and then I’ve faced the consequences as bravely as I could have. I think the importance in truth, integrity and living an honest life, is knowing who we are on the inside. It’s believing in that, and surrounding ourselves with those who believe in us, too.

This week I’m celebrating integrity and the growth in facing it. I’m celebrating the state of mind we need to be in, in order to create a safe place to discuss the truth.

As a mother, I’ve been working to teach my kids this week the importance of following our hearts instead of being followers of the fun thing to do. With the first week of school down, challenges erupt in meeting new friends; friends who aren’t always like us. Ultimately, we all have our own truths. We all want respect. We certainly all love someone and we must respect this love and the uniqueness of each soul we meet along the way.

As a writer, I’m working on a character with strong integrity who will have it challenged every step of her journey. She’ll have to face two difficult truths and weigh the impact of each, eventually forced to pick one.

As myself, a woman who sees the world in bright, justly colors, I’m celebrating following my own heart. I’m proud of every small progressive footstep and will continue to embrace the thought that eventually hard honest work will pay off.

Ultimately, in teaching truth and respect the important thing I’ve learned is:

How about you? What are you celebrating this week?

Begin to Write Again #AuthorToolboxBlogHop

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!

***

Back in May and really early in June, I had a fantastic new idea for a contemporary fantasy in the works. I was following the 90 Days to Your Novel by Sarah Domet. My mind was churning and my fingers were flying. I watched videos to build scenes, found the perfect tunes to create moods, and had my outline done and everything. Then I decided to buy a home. Ouch. Chaos erupted and I couldn’t find the concentration to write in my usual routine. I couldn’t even pick up a book and finish it.

So this month, my topic is what I’m doing to jump back in. It’s been slow, like one toe, leg and finally I might be up to my waist in that water, honestly, this is the first time in years, I couldn’t push my brain or turn on the fuse. So what am I doing now? What do you do when your life explodes and you’re finally ready to start the momentum again? I also found a couple of great articles on the web from Writer’s Digest and JaniceHardy.com.

  1. Revisit your writing routine. Time of day? Minutes per day? Before my stress exploded, I woke up religiously at 4:00 a.m. I’d have my coffee ready and I’d sit down for almost a good two hours. So this is where I started. I set my alarm again. I had no pressure or goals. I just wanted to condition my brain and body to the early rising once again.
  2. Binge read. If your mind is open and ready for that sort of activity again.  I have finally calmed down quite a bit and I am enjoying a few good reads. They are true to my genre and definitely where I want to be. Reading the competition for where I want seems to get my mind all conditioned again.
  3. Reread all the manuscript notes, scene developments and character outlines/maps.
  4. Listen to music and watch videos that remind you of your story.
  5. When you see the pictures again, push the words around without too much pressure. Right now, I added on a couple of paragraphs to my first page. Don’t be afraid to add on to current scenes. There’s no harm in deleting, and eventually, I believe the voice will come again.

There is a good side to stepping away from your work of course. I fine tuned a few scenes in my outline.

One last thought: