Welcome back to the GWN blog. We have Cyndi Faria back for Part 3 of Unleashing your muse!
I’m back today talking about what goes into Act II, Part II. I hope you’ve been following along because after next month’s post, I’m going to offer private feedback to one lucky commenter.
The second half of a novel, beginning with Act II, Part 2, is my favorite section. Often times, I’ll have the fleeting thought that the H/h will never work things out. In this section, I experience frustration and tears right along with the H/h. After all, in a romance, I want to see the couple reunite, defeat the villain, rekindle their love and find their HEA while obtaining their original goals.
But how can this possibly happen when both the H/h are up against so much adversity?
Below is what you’ll want to incorporate into your free-write. This section begins around the 50% mark of you novel (midpoint) and ends around the 75% mark.
For reference, I’m going to use the movie Pretty Woman, staring our hero Richard Gere (Edward), heroine Julia Roberts (Vivian), and villain Jason Alexander (Phillip). Recall the following just prior to the midpoint:
Define Character Trait (Strength-Weakness):
- Edward is a controlling workaholic. (Fear of being betrayed)
- Vivian is a free-spirit prostitute. (Fear of being deprived)
- Without Edward, Phillip is powerless and has an entitlement attitude.
Please note: If you end on a high at the midpoint (like sex), the All is Lost moment must end in the opposite. In our case a low.
Enter Act II, Part 2: Villains Close In (People, Past, Insecurities, etc.)
- Hero reveals he hadn’t spoke to his father in 14 years and now he’s dead.
- Heroine reveals she dropped out of high school and came to Hollywood, but couldn’t find a job and turned to prostitution.
This reveal brings them closer and makes each more vulnerable. They have sex as a couple (false win).
Villain(s) Close In:
- Edward takes Vivian to a company polo match. Both the company he wants to overtake (teardown) and Edward’s business partner, Phillip, are there. Vivian mingles beautifully and Edward notices, but the owner of the company Edward is trying to buy interacts with her.
- Phillip doesn’t trust Vivian and makes his distrust of Vivian known to Edward. Edward tells Phillip not to worry, she’s a prostitute.
- Vivian is hurt that Edward shared her profession with Phillip and that Phillip approached her for sexual services.
Allies Walk Away:
Vivian turns her back on Edward and realizes she no longer wants to be a prostitute or a free-spirit but a lady. Edward has taught her to be more goal-orientated. However, at this point she’s worse off than she started neither a prostitute or a lady. What to do?
- Angry Phillip propositioned Vivian, Edward cautions Phillip and walks away from his business responsibilities to spend a day away from work to try to patch the damage that’s been done between Edward and Vivian. For once, living a more free-spirit way of life (taking shoes off in the park and flying to New York to see the opera), Edward experiences another side of life besides work and destroying companies, but how does he balance both worlds? What to do?
Heading toward disaster (All is Lost Moment):
With both of their support systems out of the picture (Edward’s partner and Vivian’s prostitute girlfriend), they are worse than when they started. In fact, both are so bad off that all aspects of the H/h’s life are heading toward danger if they don’t change.
At this point, however, change is illusive.
Situation Worsens by Death:
Make the situation even worse. Maybe someone dies, or an ally turns their back or attacks them, or there’s an important project that comes to an end.
H/h push back one last time using their old character traits. But, because of their backstory fears, they fail miserably:
Vivian has fallen in love with Edward, kisses him on the mouth (a forbidden act for a prostitute), and professes her love, thinking he’s sleeping and can’t hear her. (Death of her prostitution lifestyle and free-spirit way of living)
After hearing Vivian profess her love for him, in the morning, Edward offers Vivian an apartment. (Death of Edward’s fear of betrayal and his all-business lifestyle.)
Ending on a Down Note:
Vivian angrily objects Edward’s apartment proposal. That’s not the fairytale she’s looking for and packs up to leave.
Falling back on his businessman ways, however, Edward hands her the money he’s promised for her week of services.
Both are completely broken and miserable without one another. And there is no going back to the old way of life having tasted the other’s world. New plan, but what?
To summarize, the point of Act II, Part 2 is for the author to prove to the character that their go-to trait isn’t working and never will again. That together they are complete, if only they’d stand up to their fears and enter the new world—Act III.
Next month I’ll wrap up how to free-write Act III.
Until then, when you’ve grasped the above information, it’s time to unleash your muse on Act II, Part 2 and free-write the next quarter of you novel (3-6 pages, single spaced. Remember anything goes). Have fun!
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. Can’t wait for part four!