Welcome back to the GWN blog! Today we have our monthly columnist Cyndi Faria talking about unleashing your muse. Cyndi will be a regular guest on the blog and will be appearing monthly on the first Monday of the month. We’ve got her twice this month though so don’t forget to come back August 26 when she’ll be posting part two of unleashing your muse.
In my opinion, free-writing is the act of unleashing your muse after a short talking to. Sure, you might think, isn’t that plotting? Well, it’s kind of a cross between pantsing (writing-by-the-seat-of-your-pants) and plotting.
Today, I want to show you how to successfully use free-writing to craft Act 1 of a romance novel (Act II and III will follow in future posts).
Let’s begin by looking at what goes into Act 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.
- Opening Image: This image will be the opposite of the final image in the story. Example: If in the beginning the hero is a playboy, at the end he’s shown in a committed relationship—maybe proposing or even married.
- Meet the hero(H)/heroine (h).
- -> What does your H/h fear, as a result of backstory (show don’t tell)? Think: Indiana Jones and snakes.
- -> If you are familiar with the Enneagram (if not, visit my website here.), list the H/h’s personality type’s strength and weaknesses, fear and desire, and what they must learn about themselves by the end of Act II in order to defeat the villain (Character Arc).
- External Goal: What does H/h want in life? Must be able to take a picture of external goal?
- Internal Goal: What do they really want? Example: To be loved, needed, etc.
- What is happening to your H/h right before something serious triggers a primal response that entices/forces them to leave their ordinary world? (See my blog post: Tipping Point) (Example: Die Hard—A policeman must save his wife who’s been taken hostage by terrorists.)
- Cute Meet: How does the H/h meet and what is it about that person or situation that links the H/h together in a permanent-for-now way? (Example: How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days—Advertising executives for competing agencies come together on a bet, he to get her to fall in love with him in 10 days and she to lose him in 10 days.)
- What special skill or tool does the H/h possess? This will be important during the climax of the story when H/h uses his/her special skill to defeat the antagonist. (This Means War: The heroine played by Reese Witherspoon combines her knowledge as a Product Tester with hero Chris Pine’s weaponry skills to defeat the bad guy.)
- Antagonist: May meet the antagonist and/or his associates at this time.
- Secondary Characters: Introduce secondary characters that can rally during the climax and help the H/h defeat the antagonist’s associates.
- Lastly, right before the H/h enters Act II—or accepts the challenge—there will be a debate section where he/she takes pause to consider the ramifications of leaving behind the old world. Firmly, he decides to step into Act II. In Blake Snyder’s book Save the Cat, he discusses the debate in depth saying, “…it’s important to remember that the debate section must ask a question of some kind.” In the case of Die Hard: Will the hero save his wife?
Once you know the answers to these questions, you’re ready to unleash your muse and free-write Act 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 other acts creeps in. That’s okay—just start a new section titled Other Acts.
Next Unleashing Your Muse post, I’ll list what belongs in Act II and Act III.
Happy Writing, Cyndi Faria
Visit Cyndi’s Website: www.CyndiFaria.com
Visit Cyndi’s Amazon page: 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.
On and off her sexy romance pages, this California country girl isn’t afraid to dirty her hands fighting for the underdog and caretaking rescued pets. Find her helping fellow writers and leading readers to happily-ever-after at www.cyndifaria.com
Cindy here again!
Thanks for being here, Cyndi! Great post. I loved This Means War! I knew her work as a product tester would come into play at some point. 🙂