Welcome back to the GWN blog! We have Cyndi Faria back to talk about free-writing.
Today, I’m talking about Unleashing Your Muse; Free-Writing Act II, Part 1. If you missed Unleashing Your Muse; Free-Writing Act I, you can read that Here. Like Act I, Act II, Part 1 makes up approximately 25% of the story. The object of free writing is to tease your muse into infusing each Act of the story with certain elements.
So let’s jump right back in where we left off:
Recall that Act I ended with the main character (MC) making a decision to leave the old world and enter into a new world. For this post, I’m going to use the romantic comedy 50 First Dates as an example. Our MC, Playboy Henry Roth, played by Adam Sandler, meets amnesiac Lucy Whitmore, played by Drew Barrymore. (Additional structure and theme blogs using this movie see www.cyndifaria.com Here and Here.):
From my last post, after reviewing Act I, go back to your free write and make sure to include elements that are character and story specific. As an example, below I’ve used 50 First Dates:
- Character Arc (Enneagram Here): Shown in Act I: Henry is a playboy/biologist who’s sworn off committed relationships. By the end of Act II Part 1: Henry sees how his flaw is holding him back from obtaining his external goal. Act II, Part 2: Henry must let go of the belief that his value is dependent of the positive regard of others to discover his true identity and his own heart’s desire. Act III: Henry proves change in self during climax and becomes self-accepting, genuine, and benevolent.
- The Thematic Statement (TS): In Act I and around the 5% mark, the reader must understand the story’s theme. In 50 First Dates, Henry believes: Commitment kills adventure, which kills happiness. Because of the MC’s backstory, the TS is the lie he’s told himself and uses to gauge his actions. It’s up to the author to either prove the TS true or false by the end of Act III. Since this specific story is a romance instead of a tragedy, the TS is proved False.
- The Story Question (SQ): At the end of Act I, around 25% of the story, readers should be able to understand the story direction in the form of a question. In 50 First Dates—Will a playboy embrace commitment and find adventure and love?
Free-Write: What goes into Act II, Part 1?
(Note: If you can’t wrap your mind around this information now, that’s okay. Just commit the bulleted items to memory and unleash your muse.)
- Meet New Players, Allies. Some Old Allies Remain: In 50 First Dates, we meet Lucy’s father and brother. Lucy’s father is the voice of reality and Lucy’s backstory narrator, while Lucy’s brother pretends to be what he is not—this is Henry’s mirror image (only a little goofier). Seeing the ridiculousness of pretending what Lucy’s brother is not, Henry slowly lets go of the playboy charade and learns to embrace who he is, what he wants, and his true feelings to get the girl and his external goal by the end of Act III. Henry’s old world friend adds humor and is the voice of truth and theme.
- Both the hero and heroine share their external goals. Henry wants to study walruses in Alaska (adventure). Lucy wants to teach art.
- Set up 3 attempts to reach the external goal, but have the MC fail due to their character flaw and sparse villain interaction (Because of Henry’s backstory—getting his heart broken in college—he’s sworn off committed relationships, even committing to repairing his yacht so he can go to Alaska. When he finds himself falling for Lucy—who cannot commit for longer than a single day—he uses his strength/flaw (sense of humor) to keep their relationship light and fun, an adventure, while keeping his distance—still not fully committing. Yet Henry’s humor in Lucy’s complicated world is exactly what she finds attractive and loveable. So she’s falling for him and he’s pushing back while unconsciously falling for her.
- As we near the midpoint of the story, the villains—Lucy’s amnesia and women tourists—challenge Henry. In order to keep the girl he’s fallen in love with, he forgoes adventure with the other women and considers a life of quasi-happiness with Lucy.
- Sexual/emotional connection to love interest, but can’t get together because of differences, or if they do get together more problems arise. In 50 First Dates, Henry begins each day by getting Lucy to fall in love with him all over again. At first, this is a fun adventure for Henry and a distraction to the harsh reality of sharing a life with her and her disability. However, he starts to see that, in a way, commitment can be adventurous and even fun. Henry decides that exchanging his carefree-playboy lifestyle for a committed and loving relationship with Lucy is worth giving up his dream of studying walruses in Alaska.
- Midpoint ends in a Win or a Loss for the MC and is opposite of the all is lost moment near the end of Act II, Part II (Future post September 9, 2013). This is the POINT OF NO RETURN for the MC. Using 50 First Dates and ending in a win, Henry chooses to leave his flaw (fear of commitment) behind, asks Lucy to marry him, and is rewarded with sex.
I hope you’ll use these bullet point items to unleash your muse on Act II, Part 1. This can be a combination of sentences, thoughts, dialogue, or whatever pops into your mind. There are no rules.
I usually write 3-5 pages, single-spaced. Sometimes information that belongs in Act I or other acts creeps in. That’s okay—just paste the information where it belongs or start a new section titled Other Acts.
Next Unleashing Your Muse post, I’ll list what belongs in Act II, Part 2. See you here September 9, 2013.
Happy Writing, Cyndi Faria
Visit Cyndi’s Website: http://www.cyndifaria.com
Visit Cyndi on Amazon: Cyndi’s Amazon Author Page
About the Author:
“Cyndi Faria writes with passion and her stories touch the heart.”
—Virna DePaul, Bestselling Author
Cyndi Faria is an engineer turned romance writer whose craving for structure is satisfied by plotting emotional and cozy paranormal romance stories about Native American folklore, cursed spirits, lost souls, harbingers, and even a haunted coastal town. If you love a tale with courageous heroes and heroines, where their unconditional love for each other gives them strength to defeat their inner demons, Cyndi Faria invites you to enter the pages of her stories.
Cindy here again!
Thanks for being here, Cyndi. Great information as always!
August 26, 2013 at 9:07 am
[…] I’m guest blogging at Guelph Write Now and talking about: Unleashing Your Muse – Free Writing Act II, Part 1 . Since GWN specializes in writing craft posts, I hope you’ll check out their site and join me […]
September 1, 2013 at 1:08 am
Great post Cyndi!! 🙂