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#WriteANovel2021 Challenge Week 15
I think now is as good of a time as any to discuss why it’s taken me so long to get around to making this episode. In this week’s episode, I’m going to be filling in my scene list for the first half of Act II. So by the end of this episode, I will have summaries planned out for scenes 16 to 30.
Now, there are a couple of psychological problems that came with this week’s assignment.
First and foremost, I had already decided to drastically alter the plot of my book way back in Week 11 of this challenge. So I didn’t want to work on this week’s assignment using my old ideas, since I knew that I would end up replacing them almost immediately afterward.
Second, I was trying to get a handle on all these new ideas at once and hold them all in my head until they made sense. And honestly, that was just too much for me. I needed to narrow my focus to where my character left off at the end of the first act and simply pick up from there.
And third, and this is a weird one, trying to fill in scenes 16 to 30 became more and more daunting the longer I was away from the story. It was starting to feel like I was so deep in this project that it would take forever to reorient myself and get back into it.
Now, how did I get past these three mental blocks?
Well, I re-numbered my scenes. Instead of scenes 16, 17, and 18, I decided that for this week I would be working on scenes 1, 2, 3, etc. Because of doing this, my attitude shifted. I looked at where my story left off and what my character was doing, and I said, “What is the first step that he has to take right now? What’s the second step?” as opposed to what’s the 16th step that he should be taking, or what’s the 17th? And that is how I managed to get back into the groove of writing to make this week’s podcast.
Now, let’s talk about Act II of a novel for a moment. Act I ends with the first plot point where the character accepts the call to action and makes the choice to go on the adventure of the story.
The first half of Act II is called the ‘fun and games’ portion of the novel. Now, again, this title is just a little bit misleading, because, obviously, it’s not always fun and games for the protagonist, but it’s fun and games for the reader, because this part of the novel is the reason that they picked up the book to read in the first place.
These are the moments that hook them when hearing about the concept of the story. And because of that, I like to call this part of the story ‘the promise of the premise’. It’s like Jake Sully in Avatar, experiencing this amazing new world, learning what the Na’vi have to teach him. It’s like seeing all of the Avengers being gathered together for the very first time and watching the sparks fly as they try to settle into their new team dynamic. This portion of the novel lasts until the midpoint, which is the aptly named halfway point of the story where everything changes.
Okay. So let’s look at what I have in my filled out scene list for the first half of Act II. I’m going to number these scenes 1-15, since that’s what really helped me to get out of my rut and back to writing.
Edwards is running through the woods, trying to escape the soldiers that the lab sent to track him down. His goal is to get to a nearby town and lay low.
He doesn’t even register the fact that he’s still wearing his uniform until a young soldier stumbles upon him and nervously tries to take him into custody. Edwards has a short bout with this young man, eventually knocking him out, and he decides to skip the town that he was heading for, and go on to the next one.
Edward steals some clothes from a laundry line and heads into town. He spots a bar and goes inside. He doesn’t have any money for anything, really, but he sees a poker game in the corner and this gives him an idea. He takes a small, small amount of the serum and he walks over to the game.
Edwards has won almost everyone’s money at the table. One of them gets so frustrated that he goes and accuses him of cheating. They’re just about to come to blows when another one of the players intervenes. He sticks up for Edwards, saying that there’s no way he could have been cheating, at least no way that he knew about, and that they were all beaten fair and square.
Edwards asks the man where he can spend the night, and the man offers his home, as long as he pays him back the money that he lost in that night’s game. He says he doesn’t want his wife to realize how much he lost while he was away at the bar that night.
Edwards goes back to stay with the family. They have a young daughter, as well as an older boy in the army who was supposed to be coming home for a few days. The man, the father was waiting in the bar all day because that’s where they were supposed to originally meet up.
It’s the next morning, and Edwards wants to leave, but the family convinces him to stay for another night. He does some chores around the property and he practices using the serum. And because of this, he’s able to save the father from an accident. And later on that night, he gets some much-needed rest from all of the activity of the past few days.
Edwards is in his room. He’s taken some serum and he’s using it to see if he can predict the results of a coin toss. As it turns out, he can see what the result is if he looks after he’s already tossed and caught the coin. But if he tries to see the result before flipping the coin, he’s not accurate because he is the one performing this action, and his action is affected by his viewing the future.
The father knocks on the door and comes on in, and they have a little heart to heart as he thanks Edwards for his help that day. Edwards ends up bringing up his concerns about doing the wrong thing for the right reason and the father says a few things that end up comforting him. He says something about how there’s nothing he wouldn’t do to protect his own children, and it wouldn’t matter what happened to him, as long as they were safe.
Edwards goes to sleep contemplating the serum on his bedside as he copes with his newfound addiction.
Okay. Now I’m going to leave it right there for this episode. I’ll be discussing the rest of the scenes in another bonus episode.
For those of you who don’t care quite as much about my story as you do about working on your own story, don’t forget to fill in your scene list for the first half of Act II. Your goal is to get to the midpoint, and then come back next time as we work on filling out the second half of Act II.
As a reminder, if you’d like to share your #WriteANovel2021 progress with me, you can send me a voice recording that I’ll be able to place directly in the next episode, by going to Anchor.fm/WriteANovel. Seriously, give it a shot. I really want to try out this feature and see how it works.
Also, don’t forget that if you support me on Patreon at the $1 level, I will have a monthly conversation of encouragement with you about your writing. At the $5 level, I will do everything I can to help you plot your novel and work through any challenges that you may have. If you’d like to support me, just go to Patreon.com/QJMartin.
Thank you so much for listening to this week’s episode of the Write A Novel podcast. If you’d like to read a transcript of this episode, you can find it at TheWritersEverything.org/transcripts. If you’d like to listen to future episodes, be sure to subscribe on whatever platform you’re currently listening on, and be sure to give it a rating while you’re at it to let me know what you think of the podcast. If you’d like to support the podcast again, you can do so at Patreon.com/QJMartin. For your convenience, all the reference links will also be in the show notes.