Here’s the thing about first acts: they’re a bitch to write. They’re loaded with back story and infodump that you have to make into the now of the story, you have to twist your narrative into a pretzel to foreshadow any character you can’t get into a scene, you have to start not only your main conflict but any subplots you’ve got going, and you have to do it all while moving your plot from the beginning where the stability is shattered to the first turning point where things get much, much worse and the story hits a climactic turning point that swings the entire narrative in a new direction. And you have to do that in 33,000 words or less that are never boring and continually escalate as the stakes rise.
All of which means that worst part of first acts, which are already hell to write, is that last part, the chunk between the crisis and the climax/turning point. Welcome to Part Seven.
So what I had to write here was action that would irrevocably convince Nita that the supernatural was real, that Nick really was going to be the Devil, and that things on the island were much, much worse that either of them had thought. The good news is, almost all of the set-up is over by this point, and I just have to hurl the act toward its climax. I think this is still too long, and I have a nasty feeling that Nita refuses for too long to accept the truth, but since it’s time to move to a paper edit and then let this act go, I putting up here as is.
I’ll get the post about the paper edit up later this week with that revision (ONE MORE TIME) replacing all the truck draft pages, but by now I’m sure you’re all so sick of this, that there’s no reason to keep reading the revisions.
Still, it should be illuminating to read the first scene in the first discovery draft and then the first scene in the paper edit draft. That always blows my mind because of course I always think my first drafts are alternately sheer genius and total crap, depending on the time of day. And then there’ll be the way the first scene reads in the published book . . .
The purpose behind all of this, besides motivating me to finish the damn act, was to show (a) how I draft a book and (b) why it takes me so long to write one so people would quit complaining. (Also, I’m old, cut me a break.) I’m pretty sure I accomplished (a) with this series of posts, so I’m satisfied my Argh work is done.
The book, however, is not. Back to work. Oh, and here’s Part Seven.