Act II Blues: The Winter Of Writers’ Discontent

highway in the desertI almost wish I were doing Nanowrimo this year. The obsessive focus on word counts would let me power through this new phase of the novel. Act II. The desert. Where most unfinished novels go to die.

I don’t have the story mapped out in beats, so how do I know it’s Act II? Simple. One of the characters from the novellas has been dropped unceremoniously on Amargosa and is now having to deal not only with my Meddling Kids ™, but a whole cadre of resistance fighters that includes a handful of former war criminals. So to say that the action is about to change is an understatement.

It’s probably going to be hard to talk about the story from this point on. Almost anything I say could be a spoiler, particularly revealing said character’s name. But what makes this part of the story so daunting is the length of it. Act II is that middle part where the heroes get into danger. Act I is setup. Act III is climax. Act I is whining about going into Toshi Station to pick up some power converters. Act III is when the light saber battle music is playing on a loop when you write. Act II is, “For f***’s sake! When do we simply walk into Mordor already? And do they have IHOP in Mordor? I’m ready for pancakes.” (Act II is where it’s easy to mix franchises by mistake. Leaves me wanting to scream “Khaaaaaaan!!!!“) Yes, a lot of action takes place in Act II. For the reader, this keeps the pages turning. For the writer, it’s a slog because there’s just so damn much of it to write!!! Wah!

On the other hand, it’s progress. With the small chunks I will be writing each time I sit down, Act II will be an even bigger challenge. But Act I is behind me, which means this thing is closer to done than it was a month ago.

Now if I can just plow through Act II…

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