Thursday, February 6, 2020

Second Act Issues (Video Essay)

Happy February! And it is a happy February, if for no other reason than I hate January.

No, that's not right: I HATE January. It's objectionably the worst: Even if you don't like the holidays, there's so much running around and busyness that the time flies by. Christmas is a flurry and then New Year's comes and goes right behind it and then you take down all the decorations and all you're left with is the cold, gray, stark reminder than there's nothing but cold grayness forever and ever... or at least until spring finally decides to show up. Nothing happens in January, and nobody wants to do anything because they're spent from the holidays. January is just a long waiting game, and it's tedious as shit.

You'd think with all that nothing going on, I might have torn through a ton of writing on Book #2. And while I have made some progress... not quite. I still struggle to keep momentum going, and I still question why I can't keep it going.

I did have a realization yesterday of something that has probably been contributing to my difficulties: my "second act" lacked focus.

I know it's a bit odd to frame my novel's story in terms of "acts," but from a story standpoint I find screenwriting video essays to be extremely illuminating (never mind that, to the disbelief of anyone who has ever met me, I've never had any strong desire to write a screenplay). My lightbulb moment came while cleaning the dining room and listening to Tyler Mowery's essay on "Common Mistakes Writers Make and How to Solve Them -- Act Two."

Oh and spoilers for Toy Story, I guess?

There's a lot of great stuff here, from examining escalation and progressive complications to simple breaking down the definition of an act. And it helped me realize that I was trying to blurt through my second act instead of letting the complications and tensions escalate -- good news for me, not so much for my protagonist.

First Post: The Story So Far

Hallo. I’m Scot Nolan, though you might know me from reviewing and discussing bad movies over the past ten years as “Nolahn.” But this ...