Storyboarding with Faith Points: Act 2, Part 1.
If you are new to this blog or have maybe missed a few posts, please scroll down and look for Act 1 writing tips. At the time, I promised more, but I got side-tracked. :)
At the end of Act 1, our hero and heroine have reached some line they must cross for the story to continue--the call to adventure that they must either answer or stay home (sometimes literally, sometimes metaphorically speaking). If they stay home, there isn't really a story. If they accept the call, off they go into dangerous waters. In a romance, they probably go out on a date. If it's a faith-based story, something is going to shake their faith or challenge their lack of.
So, Act 2 Part 1 begins with Crossing the Threshold. This is where you leave the shire, or go on the date. This is where you realize that the rich girl has a tragic path and you don't have a corner on hurt just because you're poor. God has a lesson for you and you start to see a glimmer of His plan for you.
Threshold Guardian. There's some obstacle whether it's a dragon or an addiction or a big brother who warns you off dating that guy. It could be a friend who thinks religion is for the ignorant.
Heroine's Plan. She has a plan, but of course, if it works out for her, it would be the worst thing that could happen (because she has a lesson to learn).
Antagonist's Plan. Who is the villain in this piece? It could be an evil person or it could be the person's own sin. What does evil and sin have to say about the heroine's plan and how will these twin forces step in to thwart her at every turn? In Hope of Hatteras, that I just began two weeks ago, the heroine suffers from anorexia. The villain is her illness as well as her guilt that underlies that illness.
Training Sequence. In the Lord of the Rings, there are all the challenges Frodo and the gang face trying to reach Mordor. The wizard is teaching them. In a romance, the characters are getting to know each other. The storyline may involve a suspense or a family vendetta, but underneath it all, these two people are learning whether or not this relationship can work. In a faith-based novel, the character is learning about his faith or maybe facing hard lessons that challenge that faith.
Series of Tests. Ah, I combined this a bit with the above. The training sequence is the teaching and the tests are the challenges. They are definitely connected. These tests can go on for quite some time, depending on the length of the novel or even short story (one test) you are planning. If you are writing a longer work, make the tests more and more challenging, the relationship deeper and deeper, so that the stakes get higher. The more invested the character, the more terrible it will be if the quest fails or the love interest leaves.
Picking up New Allies. Friends and mentors help along the way. How many of these the person gains depends on the length of the work again. Make sure not to introduce so many that your reader can't see them as people. Each character needs to become real. If they're not going to be integral to the story, consider not giving them a name so as to lower the overload.
Hero's Plan. I'm sticking to the couple plot because that's what I write, but there could be multiple persons of interest if you're writing big. Each point of view character does need his/her own goal/motivation/conflict and back story. How is the hero going to grow? What does he want and how does he think he's going to get it? It can't work smoothly for him or he won't need to change.
The Midpoint. By the way, Act 1 roughly takes up the first 50 pages in a full-length novel. This Act 2, Part 1 takes up another hundred. Act 2, Part 2 another 50 - 100 depending on the projected length with Act 3 another 25 - 50. Most genre novels are going to be around 250 pages to 300 at trade length. This sounds like a formula that bores the reader, but it's just a nice way of knowing where you're at. And the story is not a slave to the formula, this is just what stories naturally do.
The actual midpoint should be where the hero or heroine or both get what they want. Only it turns out to be the worst thing or at least it has some pretty ugly consequences. It's not the dark night of the soul (that happens at the end of Act 2), but it's going to shake up their world.
And the reader must keep reading in order to know whether everything works out in the end.
Do you have questions about this method? Want to ask discuss your own ideas? Please do!!