Tag: NaNoWriMo planning

Writing the Climactic Scene NaNoWriMo day 28

Writing the Climactic Scene NaNoWriMo day 28

The climactic scene is the hero’s last confrontation with the antagonist and her personal lie. Tips for getting the most out of this scene

The Final Battle part 2 NaNoWriMo day 27

The Final Battle part 2 NaNoWriMo day 27

The final battle part 2 is the last step before the climax. Don’t ruin your ending by falling into cliché and lazy solutions

The Final Battle Part 1 NaNoWriMo day 26

The Final Battle Part 1 NaNoWriMo day 26

The First Victory?

In the final battle part 1, the hero will appear to win, but the victory isn’t complete. Final battles are often in five basic stages.

  1. first wave
  2. retreat
  3. second push
  4. climax
  5. resolution

These are usually interpreted in 2 variations

Plotting the final battle-www.themanuscriptshredder.comA single goal, multiple attacks

  1. Hero experiences an apparent victory
  2. He villain “resurrects” or pushes back
  3. The second attack
  4. Climax
  5. Resolution

We see this in the Lego Movie and the Lego Batman Movie. Emmet comes back from the basement and his goal is to stop the Kragle. We also see evidence that Emmet has completed his character arc because he is now a master builder.

In the Lego Batman Movie, we also see evidence of Batman’s character transformation. He is now working as part of a team.

Multiple Goal Variation

In this version, the hero must achieve two or more distinct objectives before final victory is possible.

  1. Hero achieves the first goal
  2. Antagonistic forces push back
  3. Hero begins second, more difficult battle
  4. Climax
  5. Resolution

We see this version in Inside Out. Joy must first get Sadness back to headquarters before they can start the bigger battle of saving Riley.

There are other possibilities, but these two are the most common. Why? These are more likely to produce a satisfactory ending.

  • only 1 obstacle=victory is too easy
  • Too many obstacles=becomes tedious to the reader.

What to do

  1. Decide which path your hero will take to victory and map out your steps.
  2. Review your research before you begin your battle scene.
    For more tips on writing actions scenes click here
  3. While things are exploding, don’t forget about your character arc. Find a way for your character to demonstrate his new knowledge.

Today is only the beginning of the final battle.

The fight has just begun, but your character’s journey is nearly over. Now everything is in place. This time your hero is ready.

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Creating Anticipation NaNoWriMo day 25

Creating Anticipation NaNoWriMo day 25

This scene is about creating anticipation. Pull your readers in by reminding them what’s at stake and why they need to know how this all will end.

The Second Plot Point NaNoWriMo day 22

The Second Plot Point NaNoWriMo day 22

The second plot point is the final piece of information the character needs to complete his arc and finally solve his problem

All Hope is Lost NaNoWriMo day 21

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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New Belief Crumbles NaNoWriMo day 20

New Belief Crumbles NaNoWriMo day 20

Today, the main character has failed his test. His character arc is in ruins. In the sequel to the second plot point, the new belief crumbles.

Second Pinch Point NaNoWriMo day 19

Second Pinch Point NaNoWriMo day 19

The second pinch point is the beginning of the collapse. Whatever you decide to do to ruin your hero’s plan, make it a powerful one.

Writing Secondary Characters NaNoWriMo day 8

Writing Secondary Characters NaNoWriMo day 8

Secondary Characters make things complicated

On day 8, your character now has to deal with the consequences of the inciting incident. Your job as a writer is to make things worse. This role often falls to secondary characters. Peeta also gets picked for the Hunger Games. Sadness’s depression hinders Joy’s attempts to return to headquarters. These secondary characters function in the story to raise the stakes for the hero.

Nothing is worse than a secondary character who has no function. A love interest that’s just there to look pretty or get rescued? Maybe twenty years ago, but readers no longer give a blank pass to the skirt. Characters need to have a function in your story. They need to affect the main action.

Secondary characters need backstory

People don’t just materialize out of thin air. Your secondary characters shouldn’t as well. You can either pre-write this story or discover it as you draft. (If you are a discovery writer, make sure you keep a separate document somewhere and record the details of each character as you discover it. Otherwise, you may get to the end of the novel and find he was born in two different places!)

Be careful when you are in this phase. Writing secondary characters can be fun, but it can also eat up all your writing time and leave you with a Tolstoy-level cast list.

Cheat sheet for secondary characterssecondary characters

Relationship to the main character
How does this character reflect the main character?
How does this character reveal main character’s flaw/lie?
How does this relate to the theme?
What is this character’s goal?
How is the main character standing in the way?
What will the main character learn from this character?

Many of these questions may overlap, and depending on how prevalent the character is in the plot, you may not need to answer all of them. Whichever you decide, remember to always frame the secondary characters in relationship to your main character. Maintain a balance between making them feel like real people and allowing them to upstage your main character.

Make a map

Once the cast reaches a certain size, you may have problems keeping all the relationships clear. If this is a problem, make a cluster chart

This is a simple example

Secondary character relationship chart

In each block put the name of the character and use the lines to show how these characters are related.

Writing Secondary Characters-www.themanuscriptshredder.comYou can either use the lines to denote the relationship between the characters or use them to mark the conflict between the characters. If you have a small cast, this step may not be necessary. The key is to make sure that all the secondary characters are framed in relation to the main character.

Secondary characters must support the main character

Secondary characters are called the supporting cast because they are there to affect the main character. They must raise the stakes either by hindering the hero’s progress or increasing the consequences of failure. They must illuminate a hero’s flaws or guide him to learning his truth. Secondary characters have an important role. Make sure yours are doing their jobs.

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Scene Planning Worksheet

Scene Planning Worksheet

Scene planning worksheets will give you a simple framework to brainstorm your ideas so you will be ready when you actually have time to write.