Re: Re: What to do

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@terryrodgers wrote:

Sounds like you’re trying to hard. Scene 1. Scene 2. It’s almost like you’re picturing the novel as a movie. Novels aren’t movies. If they were screen writers wouldn’t have jobs. I think you need to forget about trying to come up with different scenes and think about the story as a whole first. And forget about the reveal at this time. Doesn’t really sound like a huge reveal that needs to be in the first chapter unless the chapter is going to show what happen that caused the survivors guilt. What you should think about for the first chapter is introduce what the major conflict of the novel is going to be. Rather than make a bunch of scene breaks, make it a single scene in the MC POV and keep it to around 5 pages. Give the reader a glimpse into what the novel is going to be about.

In a story, the writer needs to identify the stakes. Whatever the protagonist is doing, wherever he finds himself, where the protagonist finds himself at the beginning of the story will destroy him. He needs to change his life/himself. The stakes are established in the first act. Usually, the stakes are identified before the conflict is introduced. That way, when the conflict is introduced, the reader immediately understands how important it is for the conflict to be overcome (e.g. the protagonist’s desire to have a close relationship with his son, though he keeps prioritizing work, is introduced first so that when his son is kidnapped, the reader understands the stakes).

There are many different transformations (ie. journeys or throughlines) which need to be made over the life of the story. They include 1.) The overall transformation (e.g. the terrorist, who is armed with a biological weapon, needs to be found and captured and his weapon disarmed) 2.) The main character’s inner journey (e.g. the protagonist searching for that terrorist needs to come to terms with turning 50 and no longer being as physically fit as he used to be) 3.) The impact character’s inner journey (e.g. the protagonist’s cop partner is a recent graduate of the FBI academy and needs to learn the ropes of actually being an FBI agent and integrate it with his change of status as his wife is pregnant). Each of these transformations are, obviously, related to one another (for example, the protagonist sees his past years as an FBI agent reflected in his partner’s inexperience and part of the protagonist’s journey is toward becoming a mentor). Each transformation may have its own stakes. When a pinch point in the story is reached (the end of each of the acts, plus the midpoint), these transformations come together and, then, go their separate ways once more. What makes the pinch points feel so momentous is, partly, that these transformations come together.

Essential to my story is the protagonist’s inner transformation from being powerless (as a result of the survivor’s guilt) to taking control of his life and responsibility for his environment. The overall transformation is saving the world from a supernatural menace. The protagonist can’t save the world unless he makes his inner transformation. But, the inner transformation cannot be understood by the reader unless the reader knows the stakes. So, I need to explain the stakes before I get to the end of the first act.