Second Pinch Point

In his book Story Engineering,  Larry Brooks offers six core competencies involved in writing an excellent novel. Competency #4, Structure, has four parts: The Set-up, The Response, The Attack, and the Resolution. Within these four parts are some major milestones. The milestones within the structure are: 

  • The opening scene or sequence of your story;
  • hooking moment in the first twenty pages;
  • setup inciting incident 
  • The First Plot Point, at approximately 20 to 25 percent through the story;
  • The First Pinch Point at about the three-eights mark, or precisely in the middle of part 2;
  • The context-shifting Midpoint, at precisely the middle of the story;
  • A Second Pinch Point, at about the five-eights mark, or in the middle of Part 3
  • The Second Plot Point, at about 75 percent through the story;
  • The final resolution scene or sequence
  • Pastedgraphic-10

    (This pinch is courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net)

    Like the First Pinch Point, the Second Pinch Point is meant to showcase just how awesomely evil or powerful or determined the antagonist is. “The reader needs a reminder of the danger, the stakes and the implications, the unseen monster we know is waiting under the bed.” This puts a bit more scary in this part of the book. Show the antagonist going after what he wants (which is in opposition to what the hero wants). You can either show this in the POV of the antagonist, or show a confrontation between the antagonist and the hero where the hero doesn’t win.

    The Second Pitch Point falls in the middle of Part 3 (The Attack), at about the five-eights mark. If your novel is 350 pages long, your Second Pitch Point will fall around page 219. That’s a guideline, of course, so feel free to stray a bit from that target–you’re the author, so you get to choose. Just don’t stray too much.

    In The Da Vinci Code, the Second Pinch Point comes a bit early, in Chapter 64. “The assassin clocks Langdon from behind, just as Langdon is opening yet another box containing a cryptic clue.”  The assassin is the antagonistic force. “What better reminder of an obstacle, for both the hero and the reader, than having it hit you over the head.” 

    That was quick and easy, wasn’t it? My next post will deal with the Second Plot Point. Please come back.

    -Sonja
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