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Adventures in NaNoWriMo

All Hope is Lost NaNoWriMo day 21

All Hope is Lost

The character arc is in shambles. Now, the character is floundering. Ruled by the original lie, the hero can no longer move forward. All hope is lost.

During this moment the protagonist believes he has lost. He has tried everything, and it wasn’t enough. His plans have ended in catastrophic failure.

Characteristics of the all hope is lost

  1. Character reverts to original lie
    • Emmet believes he is not special
    • Batman believes he is better alone
  2. Character acts in a self-destructive or self-loathing manner
    • Emmet is paralyzed watching Bricksburg’s destruction. Since he’s convinced he’s not special, he believes there is nothing he can do.
  3. Character abandons quest
    • This can be forced by the villain or voluntary
      1. Joy falls into the Memory Dump (Antagonistic forces)
      2. Batman abandons his team. (Voluntary)
  4. No solution seems possible
    • This is the most important aspect for an all hope is lost moment. For this moment to work there can be no obvious solution or any indication that victory is possible. This moment cannot be a bump in the road. The road needs to collapse from a giant earthquake that sucks the car down with it into an inescapable pit of doom. All hope is lost means exactly that-All Hope is Lost.

If you’re having trouble keep asking yourself: What else could go wrong?creating the dark moment-www.themanuscriptshredder.com

  1. What is the worst thing the villain could do?
  2. What is the worst thing your character could believe?
  3. What’s the worst thing his companions could do?

Keep asking these questions until you have the absolute worst calamity your character could experience. (Keep in mind these calamities must already exist in her world. So if you Pantsers need to go back and add some foreshadowing, make a note somewhere to pick this up in your first round of edits.)

This is not the moment to make any unexplained twists. Plot twists are an alternate explanation of events. They can’t come from anywhere.

The All Hope is Lost is your moment to play evil god

This is your character’s darkest moment. She needs to believe there is no solution and all her efforts have only made things worse. There is nothing left. All hope is lost.

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M.L. Keller is a freelance writer and editor. Her blog "The Manuscript Shredder" is focused on helping emerging writers hone their craft.

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