Let’s pause now for your humble blogger-in-residence to proudly proclaim that Act One of the first draft of the pulpy adventure spec is complete.
But you know what that also means.
Yep. Time to buckle down even more, strap myself in, and jump feet-first into the intimidating arena commonly known as Act Two.
I’ll also admit it’s a little thrilling, too. There was a particular charge in working out the action sequences and story set-ups in Act One, so I’ve a strong suspicion the continuing build-ups for the former and the gradual development of the latter will be equally, if not more so, fun to write.
(and believe me when I say this is the kind of story that automatically requires a sense of fun)
Maybe it’s from continuously trying to improve as I go, but working on Act Two doesn’t seem as intimidating as it used to. Not to say that it comes easily; just slightly less insurmountable. I spent a lot of time on the outline, so confidence in that is pretty solid.
I read a lot about how a spec script might have a phenomenal Act One, but then things fall apart in Act Two for a myriad of possible reasons: the characters don’t do much/nothing really happens, or the overall story’s too thin, so a lot of Act Two is empty filler, and so on.
The only writing process I know is my own, and I always strive to make sure the story feels…complete? Full? It comes down to “I know what has to happen to tell this story,”, and while the first act is all about setting it all up, the second act is about fleshing everything out.
We get a closer look at the characters and how they’re progressing through the events of the story. We can see how they’re changing from when they were first introduced. Plot threads of all sizes get further developed. The central question is continuously asked (oh-so-subtly, of course).
It also involves steadily-mounting complications for your protagonist. They’ve got a goal, and it’s our job to throw all kinds of obstacles in their way that just keep making it harder for them to reach it. Again, a lot of it happens during our second act.
Act Two really is where the meat of the story takes place, so stuff needs to happen that not only holds our interest, but makes us want/need to know what happens next, and even that better be that much more intriguing.
As you’d expect, our work is cut out for us.
So off I go. Dispatches from this formidable excursion as they develop.
See you on the other side.