Thursday, May 6, 2010
The Tentpole or as I like to call it... Your mini-climax
Because that is what it should feel like.
As you move into that long 125 pages of the middle of Act 2 it can feel dry and barren, yet this section needs to be anything but!
If anything, the Tentpole (which whose action should fall right about smack dab in the middle of your book) needs to look and feel like the 'final showdown.'
But let's back up to the beginning (of the middle :-)
As we learned last blog, your Hero has been properly introduced to his new world thanks of the Opportunity and um... well... hates it.
but too bad, he still has to learn the rules and spend some time whining about how he isn't a hero at all.
However, we need to get this party started so the villain very conveniently increases the threat and menace.
What characterizes the move into the second section of Act 2 is the Hero's realization that the villain is in fact, dangerous.
Our Hero begrudgingly admits something is rotten in Denmark and agrees to do something about it.
Of course, that does NOT include him accepting the Hero's mantle. He's just a guy with a set of skills that might be able to help. That's it. Don't count on him.
Now, occasionally your Hero's arc will have arrogance be a major part of his character, in this case, he wants everyone to COUNT on him, but he can't lose... You can see how well that's going to go.
So your Hero and his band of misfits knows the final days are here and gear up for battle --> Your Tentpole
Even if you are writing literary fiction, there is a battle. It may be to win the hearts and minds of men. It may be for their soul, but it is a fight.
Everyone MUST believe that this is life or death. That this battle will define the conflict.
It does NOT. But it needs to FEEL like it is going to. Do NOT hold back here so that your climax is better.
NO! Throw everything you have into this Tentpole. Every clever idea. Every trick. Everything.
But what does that leave for your climax? It leaves you to dig deeper, be more clever. Find a few more tricks up your sleeve that are better and more ingenious.
Your Hero must not only lose this battle but get schooled in the process. He MUST be bloody and bruised.
Everyone (ok, maybe not a everyone since somebody usually dies here to increase the stakes) escapes by the hair on their chinny-chin-chin.
This proves to our Hero definitively that he was never meant to be a Hero. Did you not see how he just failed ever so miserably?
He is usually pissed off at the group for dragging him into this mess and many times will separate himself from the pack.
The world feels in limbo.
But because of this here is where you have a little more room again to do scene setting (many times the Hero is hounded out of familiar territory) and more character work (how he handles defeat is HUGE to who he is and what his inner wound is) so use these pages wisely :-)
Next Blog, finishing out Act 2... in style!
Is your Tentpole exciting enough? Is there true threat? Does your reader really believe the world could come undone? If not, crank up the stakes!!!!!!!!!!!!!
And again, leave a comment to be in the drawing for a free turn of Act 1 evaluation! :-)