Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Wicked Wednesday - that plot spot

When writing a story, the plot is generally broken down into three acts. The first act is where the protagonist's world is thrown out of order. A surprise that forces the heroine into action. The second act takes the reader in a new and unexpected direction, building the first act conflict into something much bigger. Everything is lost or will be lost if the heroine doesn't act. The third and final act contains the great climax. The protagonist succeeds and all the loose ends are nicely tied up.

It sounds easy enough... Right? Not at all.

I have one problem that I run into almost every time I write a story. I sweep in, create chaos for my characters, and build it up. I can create twists and turns, and ramp up the romantic tension. Usually close to the end, I know where I want it to go. I see the finish on the horizon. Yet there's that one plot spot right before the heroine hits the final climax. She's teetering on the edge, seemingly everything is lost, but I need to have one more push.

It's not the second act, but not quite the third yet. It's the dark spot in between. A little dip in the rise and fall of tension in the plot. Not a big dip, because I don't want to lose any of the tension I've built.

Most of the time, this is an emotional scene. The protagonist and her love interest share something, or she's having an introspective moment. It's important in preparing her for that big ending. I don't know why it stumps me. I usually have to push myself through it and go on to the climax.

Do you have any problems with that plot spot? How do you get through it?


  1. I guess I get through it by not thinking about it. (Well, it's true - I usually don'!)

  2. I must admit I'm with Alex. A lot of the time I just set out to tell the story. Then I have to figure out if it has all the elements it needs. I do have a tendency to change more beginnings than middles and ends, though.

  3. What I'm finding with my work in progress is that I can set up all kinds of stuff and write strong characters, but I'm then tied up and find it hard to push on to act two. I have started to write notes so I can check back and make sure I have covered everything and then find that I am writing myself into a corner!

    It's about patience I guess and trying not to push it too much. I defer to your greater experience though, you have published a book. I on the other hand am still trying to get into act two!

    Best of luck!


  4. Sometimes I surprise myself and this is done without me ever trying... :)

  5. Thanks for commenting, everyone. I love to read how different writers get through the rough spots.