Last week, I was all tangled up like a kitten in yarn in the setup of my latest fantasy novel, DRAGON’S HEART. So I went back to my Save the Cat plot outline, and realized I was missing one or two critical things.
- Conflict to the Protagonist’s Want: This goes back to that age-old actor’s cliché of “What’s my motivation?” What my protagonist wants is to be a good leader for her people, when the time comes (of course it never once occurs to her that her time may come before she’s ready). She has a lot of pride (her flaw), plenty of intelligence (her strength), but there was no immediate conflict or stakes working against her at this point. In other words, no compelling hook or question for the reader.
The Solution: I had to do a bit more world-building here. I had to create an immediate threat to my heroine’s people, otherwise the events that come after won’t be nearly as impactful as I need them to be. So I created a bit of world history that will lead to her father’s controversial decision to make her a leader in her own right—one that she necessarily doesn’t agree with, though she loves and trusts her father. However, she neglects to see him as human.
- Wrong Pacing: In going over my Save the Cat worksheet, it occurred to me that I needed to rearrange a few of my plot points. Specifically, I realized that what I had for my Midpoint is actually my First Plot Point (approx. 25% earlier), and my Second Plot Point was my Midpoint. This also satisfies the mythic hero’s journey structure. After that, the rest more or less fell into place.
The Solution: This means I don’t necessarily need 30K words for the First Act, but at least 22K and change (the way I write, it will still probably be between 27K-30K), and now that I have a series of events that makes more sense, it’s much clearer where I’m headed. But I’m shooting for 22,500 words at this point, which gets me back on track without a lot of lollygagging. Huzzah!
Now that I’ve broken through the latest brick wall like the Kool-Aid Man, it’s back to business as usual. This week I redid cover art and formatting for THE LADY TENNANT (Waking Muse #1) and re-released it for wide distribution, under the heading of “Better Late Than Never”. I’m working on getting it established as a perma-free, first book in a series.
Drafting: DRAGON’S ART—Act I
My goal is to hit at least 22,500 words by the time I leave for California on May 10. I should be able to do this by hitting around 1,700 words per day.
Pre-Production: BLOOD & STEAM #2 There’s a lot I’m looking to do with this one. I know it takes place in London, but there’s some research involved, regarding the naval laws of the time behind mutiny (it was tantamount to treason, no matter the circumstances). And I want to look into current and cultural events of the time to aid toward my world building. Becca loves and admires her sister dearly, but resents her a little as well, because Acacia so blithely gets away with thumbing her nose at convention and does precisely what she pleases—trapping Becca in a more conventional role. But Becca’s whip-smart as well as proper, and I’m looking forward to writing her
Post-Production: WAKING MUSE #2 I’m going back in on post on HEARTH & HOME to give it the same rebranding and reformatting treatment I gave Book 1. Then I’ll redistribute widely. I’m having trouble finding a second foreground picture I like, but I’ll get there in the end.