I’m sifting through the book Story Engineering, by Larry Brooks and giving you the best stuff. He offers six core competencies of a great story. I’m still working on the fourth core competency, Structure. Structure has four parts. I’ve already covered Parts 1 and 2. Today I’m looking at Part 3: The Attack.
By this time, the hero has been stumbling around, running away, acting scared, clueless, trying to figure out what went wrong and how he’ll fix it. He was responding. Now it’s time for him to fix it. This is Part 3: The Attack. He’s going to get proactive and courageous and ingenious. He’s going to attack the problem before him. He’s going to start addressing those inner demons that hold him back. He’s going to need to change, deep in his core, if he’s going to have a prayer at conquering his outer problems. In Part 3, our undaunted hero will find his courage, get creative, and move forward.
This won’t happen all on its own. He’s going to need new information, new awareness, and that new stuff needs to come at the right time for our hero’s evolution from wanderer to warrior. This element takes place at the Midpoint (halfway through the story, between Parts 2 and 3), and from then on, the story moves forward. “The Midpoint shakes things up, the plot thickens–the antagonistic force is moving forward, too–and what the hero thought would work isn’t quite enough. He needs more. More courage. More creativity. A better plan.”
That’s what Part 3 is for.
(This warrior is brought to you by freedigitalphotos.net)
In The Da Vinci Code, Langdon discovers there is a “teacher” who can make things clear. “The retreat of Part 2 becomes the pursuit of this teacher, coincident with his continuing avoidance of the police. Langdon realizes (at the Midpoint) that the teacher is the means of understanding and ultimate salvation. After this Midpoint realization, he’s no longer running or responding, he’s attacking the problem.”
The final piece of the puzzle arrives at the end of Part 3, the Second Plot Point (more on this later). Then everything changes again, and we’re into Part 4, The Resolution. The Second Plot Point (SPP) falls 75% of the way through the book, so if your novel is 300 pages long, the SPP should fall around page 225. That’s not set in stone, just a good guideline.
My next post is The Resolution, and you won’t want to miss it. What good is a book without an ending, huh?