In his book 500 Ways to be a Better Writer, Chuck Wendig recommends using a four act narrative instead of a three act one. I’ve been thinking how I can apply this to GENESIS DUSK and realised that the story naturally falls into four parts.
Act One: Ella’s relationship with Corin
The first part of the novel is focused on Ella learning to trust Corin, and their friendship developing into a romance despite the odds against it. This climaxes on Parcae, where Ella tells him that she loves him.
Act Two: The fallout from the attack
The alien attack on Parcae is the first pivotal point, where the novel shifts from being solely about the Ella/Corin relationship to being about surviving an alien invasion. With the command at Genesis gone, their roles mean they both have to look beyond themselves and at their wider responsibilities.
Act Three: Genesis
The focus here is back on Ella alone, as those responsibilities mean having to take command. She grows up a lot in this section. Another pivotal point serves as the act’s cliffhanger. No, I’m not telling you. Spoilers, sweeties.
Act Four: Losers and Winners
The battle for Genesis is the main theme of this section. Since it is a war, there are losses both personal and on the wider scale. Scars are left on Ella and Corin, one of which derails a long-term plan. The latter half of this act is about coming to terms with what’s happened and moving on.
Figuring this out has been hugely helpful. I’m still working on getting a finished manuscript, but when it comes to the next editing pass, I can divide the novel into these parts. That focus means ensuring there’s a rise and fall in each section, with the tension wracking up overall.
- finish the scene on Parcae – DONE
- write the scenes where Corin takes command – DONE
- go through the outline and fill out the half-finished scenes – I’ve rewritten seven scenes over five chapters. I have 16 chapters left to battle through. >.<
I’m on 11,500 words of my 20K goal for August. I definitely over-estimated how much actual writing I could get done between editing and having the kids at home. But it’s better than nothing, and the novel is tighter now than it was at the start of the month.