Plot Point 2 In The Context Of The Story Arc

It’s the end of act II and all is lost. Your protagonist must work hard to get what she wants or lose everything.

The story arc has been around for over 2000 years, and is a proven way to tell a good story. It’s not the only way, but it does work.

Evaluating your story arc in the context of the three-act structure should spark your creativity, not box it in. Use the story arc to make your story better by understanding why certain key events happening at the right time will engage your readers.

The story is yours. The arc helps you make it better.

Today, we’re talking about Plot Point 2.

Earlier posts cover the Inciting IncidentPlot Point 1 and the Midpoint.

 


What Is Plot Point 2

Plot Point 2 (PP2) signals the end of Act II.

Plot Point 2 will be a low point for your protagonist. Her actions since the middle have caused disaster. At PP2, she becomes more determined to reach her goal.

 


Famous First Plot Points:

Note: there are story spoilers, so don’t read this section if you want to read the book or see the movie.

Gone Girl: Amy comes home and lies about being kidnapped. Nick wants nothing more to do with her, but can’t get away. Amy will frame him for attempted murder if he leaves her. Life looks bad for Nick.

The Martian: Mark leaves his base for the final time and has to cover 3000 km in a hostile environment. If he misses the window for the crew to pick him up, he’ll die on Mars. This is serious motivation.

The Philosopher’s Stone: Harry encounters the Voldemort in the Dark Woods. Voldemort tries to kill Harry, but a centaur rescues Harry. Harry will have to confront Voldemort at some point if he’s going to survive.

Twilight: A vampire is going to go after Bella for her blood, and Bella must leave Fork. Bella wants to survive.

 


Placement Of Plot Point 2

Plot Point 2 should be somewhere around the 75% mark in your novel. If this plot point comes too late, the story will feel like it’s dragging. If it comes too early, the story may feel rushed or lacking in depth.

Here’s an example of a story arc from Fictionary. The brown line shows the recommended story arc, and the green line shows the actual story arc for the novel.

You can see above, the inciting incident occurs too late in the story, plot point 1 occurs too quickly after the inciting incident, and the middle occurs too late in the story.

After that, plot point 2 is reached too quickly, denying the reader story depth. By appearing too early, it also means the last act is dragging. Act III is going on for too long.

And on it goes until the climax is too late, and there isn’t enough time for a satisfactory resolution. Meaning the reader won’t read the writer’s next book.

I’ve love to know what you think and if you have any questions 🙂

 


Fictionary is online software that simplifies story editing. Why not check out Fictionary’s free 14-day trial and tell better stories?

 


Post written by Kristina Stanley, best-selling author of Look The Other Way (Imajin Books, Aug 2017).

Kristina Stanley is the best-selling author of the Stone Mountain Mystery Series and Look The Other Way.

Kristina is the CEO of Fictionary.

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Today, is the final day you can enter the The Fictionary Finish Your Novel Contest.

 The Fictionary Finish Your Novel Contest.

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Grand Prize

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Sign up for a free 10-day trial between

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Upload your 50,000+ word manuscript and start your Fictionary story edit.

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Winners will be chosen at random in April. Good luck!

Finish Your Novel Contest Details

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Fictionary is a proud sponsor of the NaNoWriMoNow What? Months”. Check out what NaNoWriMo has going on to support you through the revision and publishing process.

Two Questions For Choosing A Point Of View Character and Style

When writing a series, choosing both the point of view characters and point of view style are HUGE decisions an author must make.

AVALANCHE is the third book in the Stone Mountain Mystery Series and was released in June 2016. When I first started writing the series, I thought I was writing a standalone novel. Of course my characters took over, and now I have a series.

Early on, I decided to write in close third person from multiple points of view. Little did I know, that once I made that decision, I would have to stick to that for the rest of the series.

The second question in Top 3 Story Editing Questions For Fiction Writers was “Who has the point of view?”

Here are two questions to ask yourself when you begin your novel. And when you ask these questions of yourself, don’t assume you’ll be writing a standalone novel. You just never know.

1. Do you plan to switch POV characters?

If you’re going to have multiple POVs in your novel, it’s important to let your reader know this early on in the story.

It could be jarring for a reader to get half way through a novel, and the POV is ripped from underneath their feet and a new character steps in.

Changing POVs in the first few chapters will warn the reader this is your style, and hopefully, they’ll enjoy your book more. They’ll expect different characters to have their say, to drive the novel, and to provide surprises. They won’t get so attached to one POV character that they can’t bear the change and toss the novel aside.

2. What POV type will you choose?

When you choose the type of point of view to write from, consider what it will take to be consistent for an entire novel or several novels.

  • If you chose first person, do you stay in first person? Do you reference anything the first person character can’t possibly know?
  • For third person, are you writing third person, third person limited, or omniscient? Once you make the choice, it’s important to be consistent and only change the style if you make a conscious decision to do so.

For the second book in your series, follow the same POV pattern you used in the first. Your readers will expect a similar style and voice in the second and following books.


Books I’ve Read and Recommend on POV

The Power of Point of View by Alicia Rasley

Characters and Viewpoint by Orson Scott Card

Characters, Emotions and Viewpoint by Nancy Kress


How Fictionary Can Help You With POV Characters

If you’ve written your draft from multiple points of view, Fictionary will help you make sure you’re making the best use of the POV characters.

When thinking about which character should have the POV in each scene, ask yourself:

  1. Who is in the scene and who is just mentioned?
  2. Who is the best choice for the POV character for the scene?
  3. What is the POV character’s goal for the scene?

Who Is In The Scene?

In Fictionary, you can visualize who is in each scene and who is mentioned. Seeing your character names will help you decide if you’ve chosen the best POV character for the scene.

Who did you choose for a POV character and what is the goal?

Here is an example of how to answer these 3 questions using my novel DESCENT. The characters in the scene are shown above. The point of view character is Kalin Thompson (she’s also the protagonist), and her goal is to search the ski-tuning room.

Evaluate each scene to ensure the reader will understand the answers to the 3 questions. You can show, tell, or imply the answers. It’s up to you to find the right balance. The more important the event, the more you should show the reader what’s happening. The less important events can be told quickly, so the reader can move on to the good stuff.

Balance The Point Of View Characters

To help you visualize the balance of your POV characters, Fictionary shows you how many POV scenes each character has, the order they have the POV, and the percentage of POV scenes compared to other characters.

Below you can see Kalin Thompson has the most POV scenes (good because she’s the protagonist), Ben has the next (also good because he’s her love interest) and so on. The initials on the bottom show you the order. The green means a character has had 3 scenes in a row where he/she is the POV character.


Fictionary is a proud sponsor of the National Novel Writing Month Now What Months.

To encourage you to finish your novel and get published, we’ve partnered with FriesenPress and are hosting a contest together.

Grand Prize

One lifetime Fictionary subscription and a $1999 FriesenPress Publishing Package.

Additional Prizes

$200 annual Fictionary subscription for 3 lucky writers!

Check out the details and enter the contest.

Winners are chosen at random. No purchase necessary.

Entrants accepted until February 18th, 2018.

Ensure The Purpose of A Scene Is Engaging Your Readers

A great scene makes your reader feel an emotion.

What Is A Scene?

A scene is a section of your novel where a character or characters engage in action or dialogue. You can think of a scene as a story with a beginning, middle, and an end.

Usually, you’ll start a new scene when you change the point of view character, the setting, or the time. You may start a new scene if the scene your working on is too long to fit the structure of your manuscript.

Fictionary will take you through the process of evaluating each scene in your novel.

The Purpose of a Scene

The first question in my post Top 3 Story Editing Questions For Fiction Writers was “What is the purpose of a scene?”

I’d like to share my thoughts in more detail.

The purpose of the scene must relate to the overall story. If it’s not driving the story forward, then ask yourself what is the point of including the scene in your novel.

Here are some examples of the way the purpose of a scene can drive the story forward. You can choose one of these to define your purpose or come up with your own definitions.

  • Build suspense
  • Character development
  • Character Introduction
  • Climax
  • Establish mood
  • Establish setting
  • Inciting Incident
  • Intensify Conflict
  • Move the story forward
  • Plot point 1
  • Plot point 2
  • Resolution (after climax)

How Purpose Of A Scene Helps With Other Elements Of Fiction

I articulate the purpose of the scene early in my story editing, so I can address other elements of the scene and test if they are in line with the purpose.

Let’s say you fill out the list of objects in a scene. You can weigh the objects against the purpose of the scene and see if there is a way to use them to further the purpose. This goes for revelations, tension, conflict, weather, etc. Basically, every scene element can be tested against the scene purpose.

After you whittle down the purpose of a scene to a few words, one of three things will happen.

  1. You’ve got the purpose nailed, and you understand why this scene is included in your novel.
  2. You have a weak purpose, but there is still some value in the scene.
  3. You have no idea what the purpose is.

So you’ve got the purpose nailed. Yay! Move on to the next scene.

If the point of the scene is weak, see if you can take what is important in a scene and move it to another scene, then delete the weak scene. You can also enhance the scene to give it a stronger purpose.

If you can’t articulate the purpose of a scene, think about removing the scene.

 

The Fictionary Finish Your Novel Contest.

Fictionary FYNC

Fictionary is designed for the serious author who wants to produce a high-quality manuscript.

To encourage you to finish your novel and get published, we’ve partnered with FriesenPress and are hosting a contest together.

Grand Prize

One lifetime Fictionary subscription and a $1999 FriesenPress Publishing Package.

Additional Prizes

$200 annual Fictionary subscription for 3 lucky writers!

Check out the details and enter the contest.

Winners are chosen at random. No purchase necessary. Entrants accepted until February 18th, 2018.

Fictionary is a proud sponsor of the National Novel Writing Month Now What Months.

Ensure The Purpose of A Scene Is Engaging Your Readers

Conquer Your Story Edit and Finish Your Novel (NaNoWriMo Guest Blog)

Conquer Your Story Edit and Finish Your Novel

Every year, we’re lucky to have great sponsors for our nonprofit events. Fictionary, a 2018 “Now What?” sponsor, is a breakthrough tool for editing fiction. Today, author and Fictionary co-founder Kristina Stanley shares her editing expertise, as well as the details of the Fictionary Finish Your Novel Contest:

Tell me a story!” your reader demands. “I want to feel happy, sad, frightened. Take me to a new world and make me care about what happens.

That’s a big ask of a writer. How do you go from the first draft of your novel to a story that works and captures readers? Think about some of the best novels you’ve read. What do you remember?

Read More…

Finish Your Novel with Fictionary

Hello all,

Most of you know I’m the CEO of Fictionary as well as a fiction writer. I created Fictionary to help writers turn a first draft into a great story. Fictionary focuses on the story, not just the words.

I created Fictionary because I couldn’t find a software tool that did what I wanted.

This is just to let you know there are just 2 days left to try Fictionary at a special launch price!

With the many improvements made since launching, Fictionary’s price is changing to $20/month on January 8th, 2018.

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Importing your manuscript is easier with a new step-by-step guide.

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To keep track of your story, do you create a spreadsheet just

like J.K. Rowling did?

We’ve automated this for you with the Fictionary Story Map.

As you evaluate each scene, your Story Map is created. You can view your entire novel or select only the elements you’re working on.

Finally, I’m very excited about a big contest announcement I’ll be making soon.

We have some valuable prizes lined up. Stay tuned!

Start your free trial and Finish your novel with Fictionary 🙂

How To Avoid Plot Holes (Part II — Character Arcs)

A character’s arc includes when she enters and exits the story. Every character arc is a journey, and at the end of the journey, the character either succeeds at achieving his goal or he fails.

The moment a character enters a story, her character arc begins.

The first time a character appears, she must be introduced to the reader. This is where you decide how much time you spend on describing her and who she is in the story.

For a major character, put more emphasis on introducing the character and showing her goal(s). You either share the goal with the reader or make it an internal goal that will be revealed later. Either way, you as the author must know the goal.

For a minor character, write as little as possible and still keep the reader engaged and not confused.

You control how the information of a new character is presented. Consider her appearance, how she speaks, what her mannerisms are, her actions, and how she interacts with other characters.

When describing a character for the first time, describe the character so the reader:

  1. Can conjure up a physical image of the character.
  2. Understands the POV character’s interpretation of the new character.

Consider whose eyes the new character is being seen from and make the description something that character would think or feel.

For example, a rough and tumble character might look at a banker from a city and sneer at the manicured fingernails, whereas a pedicurist might look at the same character and be impressed with the care the person takes in her appearance.

Only include details that move the story forward. If a character’s length of time in his job is important then include that detail.

A character who has been a private detective for one day will act differently than a character who has been a private detective for ten years. If the job is not relevant to the story, then consider not including the detail when introducing the character.

After the character’s final scene, she may still have an impact on other characters in the novel, but she won’t grow or change again. Hence, it’s the end of her character arc.

At the end of the character arc, a reader should feel satisfied. Did the character achieve his goal? Did he fail? That’s up to you as an author to decide, but you must let the reader know.


Causes of Plot Holes

  1. Scenes are not connected to one another or to the story (covered here)
  2. A character arc is not closed off
  3. Scene locations are inconsistent
  4. The timing from one scene to the next doesn’t work.

Plot Hole Problem 2: Character Arc Not Closed

This problem occurs when a character exits your story, but her story was not closed off for the reader. This is extremely important for major characters and less important for minor characters.

Most likely, you’ll close the character arc for your protagonist and antagonist. It’s the other characters in your cast who might cause problems for you. Pay attention to characters who follow a subplot or hold the point of view for a scene. It’s easy to forget a goal or two.

Fictionary Example

The illustration below shows you how Fictionary leads a writer through the process of evaluating plot and looking for plot holes related to character arc.

Let’s take a look at my novel Avalanche.

The Story Arc report can show you the first and last scene each character is in.

To consider if you’ve closed the character arcs, remind yourself of the character’s goals, review the last scene for each character, and make sure you’ve closed off any loose ends.

To do that you need to know what the character’s goals were.

I suggest starting with any characters who have the point of view for a scene. You can quickly scan the POV characters and their goals by choosing the Point of View (POV) and POV Goal in the drop-down menu of the Key Elements per Scene report. This way you can find the important goals you must close off (succeed or fail).

Once you’ve selected the elements, you’ll know the goals for each POV character.

To start checking your character arcs, choose a character and find the first scene she had the point of view for. I’ve chosen, Jessica Scott. She’s a supporting character who has an important role.

Her first point of view scene in Avalanche is scene 13. I found this quickly by looking at the POV report. The bottom row shows each POV character by initials in the order they appear in Avalanche.

Next, find the last scene your POV character is in. You can use the Story Arc report to do this.

Below, you can see Jessica’s last scene is scene 105.

If I need to read the scene, I can click on the black box shown above and the text of that scene will be displayed. I can then determine if I’ve closed off Jessica’s character arc properly.

​So now I know Jessica’s first POV scene, her goal, and her last scene. I can evaluate if I’ve closed off her goal by having her either succeed or fail.

I’ll repeat this for all POV characters and then move on to minor characters who don’t have POV for a scene but do have an important goal.

This takes a bit of time, but it’s worth it to create a better story for your readers.


Fictionary is the first online tool for editing your story, not just your words. Think characters, plot, and settings. Find out more at Fictionary.co.

How Fictionary Works

A writer imports a manuscript in MS Word .docx format. Fictionaryautomatically creates a character list, links characters to scenes, plots word count per scene, and draws a story arc.

The writer enters data regarding each scene, evaluates and edits the manuscript based the reports, and then exports the updated manuscript. The reports are dependent on the writer’s input and are created specifically for each manuscript. There are rewrite tips associated with each key element of fiction if you get stuck and need guidance.

Fictionary is designed for the serious author who wants to produce a high-quality manuscript.

Download our free eBook, Story Editing: 15 Key Elements of Fiction To Ensure Your Story Works and learn how story editing is all about evaluating the major components of your story.

Turn Your First Draft Into A Great Story

Try Fictionary for free. The first 10 days are on us. No credit card required.