Thursday, March 8, 2012

Third Act and Second Book Problems

Of late, in addition to hammering at the rough draft of Way of the Shield (yes, that's just a working title), I've been cranking out summaries for intended second and third books for Holver Alley Crew and Maradaine Constabulary.  Frankly, this part of the process is fun, but it is definitely something of a battle.  And right now the biggest battle is turning the rough notes of the third act of Maradaine Constabulary 3 (working title: This Most August Body) into something coherent enough for other people to make sense of.  Included with this is doing it in a way that A. makes for a nice resolution to the story of the book proper and B. turns the screws on arcplots. 

Going back to my six-book arc structure, roughly speaking, book three is where the first shoe drops.  Without giving away spoilers (for a book that, in a wildly-successful supremely best-case scenario, probably wouldn't come out until 2016), I know what that shoe drop is, and I know why it's going to happen... but key points of the how are still eluding me.  I think I'm on the verge of figuring it out.

Of course, there's only so much you can pack into a thousand-odd word summary.  One of my crit partners commented on my summary for Maradaine Constabulary 2 (working title: The Little East):

I'm guessing you went for a who-dunnit with a colorful cast of suspects, but it's not quite coming across in the outline, to me.  What makes the suspects interesting?  
A fair question, but it goes right to that point: the summary only gives the bones of the story.  I have reasonable confidence in my ability to do character and dialogue work (playwriting background, after all) to make the suspect pool dynamic and interesting.  But the summary won't make that clear.  Heck, the summary only names about half of the suspects.  (My outline notes are more complete along those lines.) 

So that's what's on my plate this week: cracking the third act of MCI03, and continuing to dig my way through the word mines for Way of the Shield.  What are you all working on?

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