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37 votes

Is it time to start closing up my novel?

Finish the story. Don't worry about the word count. When it comes time to do revision, rewriting, and editing you can look at ways of possibly splitting it into two or more volumes. Stories need ...
a4android's user avatar
  • 1,115
34 votes
Accepted

Act 3 totally broken...keep writing?

Fix it now. If you realize you made a mistake, go back and fix it now. Not, I stress, because the last 20K would be "wasted," because no writing is wasted, but because it's clearly blocking you and ...
Lauren-Clear-Monica-Ipsum's user avatar
18 votes

Skipping the first act?

I think you're mixing up two things here: Story structure and plot. "Acts" don't describe what happens in your story - they describe what purpose these parts of your story serve. "Plot" would be what ...
B Altmann's user avatar
  • 1,120
18 votes

My readers are losing interest halfway through. What is a list of possible remedies?

+1 Henry, those are possible problems. It is hard to diagnose, but you've told us the problem: The reader has stopped caring how the story turns out. Even if the ending is great. Which likely means ...
Amadeus's user avatar
  • 101k
17 votes
Accepted

Is it time to start closing up my novel?

Remember your goal: you have set out to tell a story. So tell the story. Forget the wordcount. You feel the story needs more meat, give it more meat. You feel you need to explore more themes, go ahead ...
Galastel supports GoFundMonica's user avatar
15 votes
Accepted

My readers are losing interest halfway through. What is a list of possible remedies?

Giving specific editing advice is difficult without first reading the work in question, but here are some additional thoughts for you to consider... When the middle of a story stalls, it is often the ...
Henry Taylor's user avatar
  • 10.8k
10 votes

Skipping the first act?

No, you can't skip it, but Yes, you can start the first act in full motion. What you are describing is not "skipping the first act". It is impossible to skip the first act because it really isn't up ...
Amadeus's user avatar
  • 101k
10 votes

Act 3 totally broken...keep writing?

I'd like to add to Lauren's answer: whenever you realise that the story has problems, whether it's in the plotting, character development, or whatever; whenever you realise there is a problem, go back ...
SC for reinstatement of Monica's user avatar
10 votes

Magic is the twist

You need a major twist earlier in the story. The promise to the reader is that there is a debate about the strange events, and that things don't always turn out as they appear. That makes your ending ...
wetcircuit's user avatar
  • 27.2k
8 votes

Is it time to start closing up my novel?

I am a discovery writer; and one that completes novels. The key here, I think, is to remember you are discovering the story. If you are in the middle of the second act, then you have discovered half ...
Amadeus's user avatar
  • 101k
7 votes

Act 3 totally broken...keep writing?

Some say you should stop writing this story altogether. Others that you have to fix what is wrong or finish it first. These might all be valid options. But from what I hear, 'fixing' this story is ...
Dave's user avatar
  • 71
7 votes

Is it time to start closing up my novel?

Writing typically has two phases: Writing and editing. A lot of writers mess themselves and their work up by trying to prematurely combine the two. Write expansively right now, as much as you need ...
Chris Sunami's user avatar
  • 56.5k
7 votes

Abandoning the Ordinary World

My advice is to be certain these characters show up again, either as characters or as something else --like an idea, a value, a representation of those characters. I always fall back to Luke in Star ...
SFWriter's user avatar
  • 23.8k
6 votes

Is it time to start closing up my novel?

Length and Writing What are you going to tell? Is it a (maybe short) story that has everything told by now or do you still have 3 acts to tell? Let your tale guide your writing, then use the Red Ink ...
Trish's user avatar
  • 1,078
6 votes

Is it time to start closing up my novel?

Word count is a useful tool, but to feel compelled to cram an ending in when you are still in full stride with much of the story as yet unrealized is folly. Your story will take as long as it takes ...
Rasdashan's user avatar
  • 12.3k
6 votes

Respecting classic dramatic structure in a documentary

As @Galastel has already noted, the standard documentary approach is to film everything, and then to craft a story only at the end, and through the editing process. This is because the story you may ...
Chris Sunami's user avatar
  • 56.5k
6 votes
Accepted

The three acts and their relative length

Of the three acts, Act I, II, III, generally ACT II is the longest, ACT I the next longest, and ACT III the shortest. Roughly, you can divide Act II in half, Act IIa and IIb. And roughly, each will ...
Amadeus's user avatar
  • 101k
6 votes
Accepted

Is starting In Media Res compatible with a Three-Act Structure?

You can definitely start a three-act story with an in media res opening. A story having three acts is more about the number of plot points and their location. Here's a good primer on the three-act ...
Erk's user avatar
  • 6,048
6 votes

Can the villain be introduced too late?

A villain doesn't have to be physically present to be "present" in the story. From the sound of it you introduce the villain pretty early on by reputation, and spend most of the story ...
MarielS's user avatar
  • 1,750
5 votes

Respecting classic dramatic structure in a documentary

If I understand you correctly, the subject of your documentary is standing on the brink of a major change: there's his life up to "now" (what you call "act 1"), and then there's the way things will ...
Galastel supports GoFundMonica's user avatar
5 votes

Act 3 totally broken...keep writing?

Having been in this situation a few times, what I have done is gone back to the start and begun again, not throwing out everything I have written already, but learning from what I realised works and ...
S. Mitchell's user avatar
  • 7,916
5 votes

My readers are losing interest halfway through. What is a list of possible remedies?

+1 for both answers relating to the rising action/ early failures/ raising stakes/ and cutting out sections that don't help the pace. In addition, try looking into your character's motivations. Are ...
BugFolk's user avatar
  • 932
5 votes

Magic is the twist

Is there any possible way to do it right, without foreshadowing it so hard that the twist is moot? I would say ... No. But you can write the story, without letting your MC agree to call it magic. ...
Amadeus's user avatar
  • 101k
5 votes
Accepted

Is it permissible to have a non-linear narrative in a three act structure?

You wouldn't be breaking any rules because none exist. The rules are a bundle of advice at best, and not all advice is equally useful. Yes, you can have a non-linear narrative in a three act structure....
Anna A. Fitzgerald's user avatar
4 votes

Skipping the first act?

No, you can't do this. It is illegal and if you try it you will be arrested by the Literature Police. Of course you can do it. You can write a story any way you want. (Well, barring libel and ...
Jay's user avatar
  • 25.6k
4 votes

My readers are losing interest halfway through. What is a list of possible remedies?

For me as a reader (or a viewer), when my interest flags, it's because there are no longer any emotional stakes that I care about. Lots of action might be happening, but it's all the same to me how ...
Chris Sunami's user avatar
  • 56.5k
4 votes
Accepted

Respecting classic dramatic structure in a documentary

Although I am a strong believer in the 3AS, you don't really need a 3AS in a character study, which is what you are doing: A work of fiction in which the delineation of the central character's ...
Amadeus's user avatar
  • 101k
4 votes

Magic is the twist

I think something that will be key to making your story work within your parameters, i.e., keeping your readers happy even with a 7th-inning paradigm shift, is to focus on the elemental genre of ...
wordsworth's user avatar
  • 3,137
3 votes

My readers are losing interest halfway through. What is a list of possible remedies?

When a reader says "I'm reading (CHAPTER X), and I'm not interested", the first step to solving that is to ask: Wait a moment, what in (CHAPTER X) should be interesting? This is a crucial question -- ...
Standback's user avatar
  • 28.3k

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