I’m admitting defeat. I cannot get Nita into four acts as per my usual plan. I have diagrammed and sliced and diced and it’s not working. As Einstein supposedly said, “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” I am not getting different results. So the rest of this post is me brainstorming how to do this differently. This is serious business; there is graph paper involved.
So I’m going to try a different structure. Yes, I’m appalled, too, but I want this book done, and the structure is kneecapping me. Also I’ve known for some time that there’s a dead spot in the middle of Act One, so that has to be fixed. I tried moving the turning points between Act One and Two around, but that made things worse. There’s good stuff in this book, but there’s also meh, and I cannot have meh.
So I went back into the first two acts and started looking for high points that could be considered soft turning points. Like:
• Nita drinks the scupper and Nick knows she’s different and tells the boys to find out everything about her. I love that scupper scene sequence, I’m not messing with that, I just have to hit that turning point harder.
• Then there’s the guy trying to shoot Nita and getting double-tapped by Button. That’s a turning point in their relationship and the first solid clue that Nita has that the supernatural is real. She ignores it, but she remembers it.
• Then Nick gets yanked into hell and finds out about Nita’s heritage and gets saddle with Mammon and Max.
• And finally Nita sees Nick smite Rich and knows it’s all true.
So, okay, based on this, we’re not doing this in acts, we’re doing it in Parts. Like episodes. They still begin in regrouping from a turning point and end in a new turning point, the turning points just aren’t cataclysmic like act turning points. That fixes it, right?
No. The turning points have to be about the protagonist. (Because I said so, that’s why.) Turning points one and three are Nick’s, and two is Button’s. Four belongs to Nita because that’s the old act turning point. Nita has to have the other three. I DON’T WANT TO DO THAT MUCH REWRITING.
Suck it up, Jenny, nobody said this was going to be easy.
Okay, Button’s (second TP) can be about Nita and Button beginning their partnership; I can fix that by tweaking. Probably. It’s in Nita’s PoV already, so it’s doable.
Nick getting dragged back to Hell is a good solid turning point, and he’s the second lead, so I’m going to give him that one. (BECAUSE I SAID SO.)
That leaves the first turning point, which has to be Nita’s, damn it, and as of now it ends in Nick’s PoV. BUT that last scene is only 700 words, so it’s really more of a coda, and it’s all about Nita. The scene before that is Nita’s PoV, and it’s the one where she sees Nick as a skeleton, so . . . ARGH.
Okay, so if I leave the first turning point as it is, juice up the part 2/Button shoots turning point as a major move in their partnership, leave the part 3 turning point in Nick’s PoV in Hell, and keep Nita’s come-to-realize at the end of Act One (which I think is freaking brilliant if I do say so myself) I’m okay, right?
No. The word counts for those four parts are
See that 14311? That’s the dead spot. So if I move 5,400 thousand words up, I’ll have the rhythm I need, 11,000, 10,000, 9000, 7000, more or less. Five thousand words means the breakfast scene ends up as the last scene in Part 2. You remember the breakfast scene. It’s four thousand words of people talking.
So something big has to happen at the end of the breakfast scene.
• End of Part 1: Nita sees the boys are green and Nick’s a skeleton; discounts it because she’s drunk.
• End of Part 2: [Give me a minute here.]
• End of Part 3: Nick goes to Hell; I’ve got a scene right before that where Nita sees Forcas’s head in the acamas box and flips out.
• End of Part 4: Nita sees Nick smite and realizes it’s all true and he’s going to be the Devil
So Act One or the first four parts are about the arc of Nita accepting that the supernatural is real (I already knew that, I just didn’t know the TPs would line up like that.) So what I need at the end of the breakfast scene is another big moment that jars Nita out of her certainty that there’s nothing supernatural on the island.
That might work.
It’s 4:30AM, we have a snow and ice storm coming this way, and I’m socked in until I fix this mother. Expect snarling in the near future.