Most stories can be divided into Acts. Some swear by a 3-act structure, others by 4, but regardless of how you break down a movie or book, Act 1 is an introduction to the characters, the world, and the problem, and Act 2 is when the hero gets into the action. Act 2 is where the protagonist hatches the plot, learns to fight, or sets off on that quest.
That’s where I am now. Both in my WIP and, in many ways, in my writing-career. My story as a writer began when my mother challenged me to complete NaNoWriMo back in 2015. That was my inciting incident, if you will. And, if you’ll humor me, getting into PitchWars may have been my first plot point. The moment that I entered Act 2 and began my quest, confident that victory would soon be mine. But, as in all good stories, it’s rarely that simple. A main character needs a few bumps in the road to keep things interesting. So, perhaps the PitchWars agent showcase was my mid-point. The moment where everything turns upside down. I, the hero of this story, realized that what I expected and hoped for (instant success! An agent offer! Sudden glitz and glamour! A feeding frenzy!) evaporated. I TRIED not to get unrealistic in my daydreams beforehand, I really did, but hey, it happens. PitchWars can do that to a girl. After all, every year a percentage of the PitchWars class does sign with agents right away. But most do not. And while we all knew that going into it, it’s still a letdown to realize that you aren’t one of the lucky few. When you dream big, the fall hurts.
But I’m still in Act 2.
So, my story isn’t finished. I have a number of full manuscripts out there with agents, and dozens of agents left on my to-query list. This quest isn’t over yet, folks. This is the part where the hero dusts herself off, reassesses the world she thought she knew, and sets her sights on a new goal.
In a movie or book, the darkest moment, when all hope is lost, doesn’t come until Act 3. Yikes. Since I’m not living in a fictional story, I’m hoping I can dodge that bullet, but I know from experience that life, like stories, often comes with plenty of dark moments. So I’m prepared for the fact that I may not get signed with this book. It’s very common for writers to query multiple books before they secure representation. I love my PitchWars book. I’ve had great feedback from readers, including agents, and I still believe in this story, but I also want to prepare for the possibility of letting it go. Not yet, and not for a while, but maybe eventually.
The good news is, part of my 2nd Act rally is my new book. And *whispers so I don’t break the spell* I’m almost halfway finished with the first draft already! Whaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaat??!?!
And, I’m in Act 2 of that, too! Which is why I came up with this convoluted analogy. Metaphor? Eh, it doesn’t matter.
The point is, my new book baby is speeding right along, and I’m really happy with it. A few months ago, the thought of emotionally turning away from NO MAN’S LAND after working so hard for so long, of focusing my creative energy and heart on another project, felt like admitting defeat. But it’s true what they say–when you start querying one book, get to work on the next. Don’t dwell. That baby bird has to leave the nest, and I only have so much control over where it ends up. It’s time to see if I can… hatch… another… baby bird?
Okay, no more metaphors. You get it.
Note-I’ve actually recently become a convert to the 4 Act structure, but that would make this blog post more confusing, so…
I hope everyone is settling into 2018 and all my writer friends are feeling inspired and motivated. For those in the query trenches, keep your chins up. For those heading into, or already on submission, I’m cheering you on! And for everyone starting new, shiny projects, I can’t wait to hear all about them!