Happy New Year friends!
I mentioned on Twitter in early December that I wanted to set a goal to reach the first pinch point of my novel by the end of the month. For those of you that are unfamiliar with the term, it’s part of the three act plot structure that I loosely follow.
Hook: 1% mark. This opening moment is your opening scene—the first thing that happens in your story—possibly even the first line
Setup: 1% – 12%. Readers learn about your characters, their goals, and the stakes
Inciting Incident: 12% mark. A turning point occurs halfway through the First Act. This is the Call to Adventure, the moment the Normal World is significantly rocked by the conflict
Build-up: 12%-25%. The final pieces necessary for the main conflict are moved into position while ramping up the tension
1st Plot Point: 25% mark. The doorway between the end of the First Act and the beginning of the Second. Also likely to be the Key Event
Reaction: 25% – 37%. After the First Plot Point, the protagonist scrambles to understand obstacles thrown in her way by the antagonist
1st Pinch Point: 37% mark. A reminder of the antagonist’s power, which provides new clues about the nature of the conflict
Realization: 37% – 50%. Protagonists realization grows and her reactions become more informed
Midpoint: 50% mark. The Moment of Truth when the protagonist realizes the central truth about the nature of the conflict
Action: 50% – 62%. Thanks to her new understanding, the protagonist makes headway against the antagonist
2nd Pinch Point: 62% mark. Foreshadows Second Plot Point and serves to remind the protagonist what’s at stake
Renewed Push: 62% – 75%. Protagonist renews attack upon the antagonist. She reaches a seeming victory
2nd Plot Point: 75% mark. A dark moment for the character. After the victory at the end of the Second Act, she experiences a reversal
Recovery: 75% – 88%. Protagonist reels as she questions her choices, her commitment to her goal, and her own worth and ability
Climax Begins: 88% mark. This turning point forces the protagonist and the antagonist to finally face each other
Confrontation: 88%-98%. Duel to the (literal or metaphoric) death. What occurs here ensures protagonist and antagonist cannot both walk away
Climactic Moment: 98% mark. The moment the protagonist’s goal is met, it becomes a physical impossibility for the conflict to continue
Resolution: 98%-100%. Ease readers out of the excitement of the Climax and into the final emotion
When I set the goal on December 11th, I wasn’t close. I was in the build-up stage but I knew that this was a goal that would stretch me.
As the holidays approached, I wondered if I would be able to accomplish it but I kept writing every day. Although it did feel pretty discouraging when I only had enough time to write a couple of sentences, I pushed through.
I wrote in the mornings on my family vacation before my husband woke up and kept working on it, even though it seemed loftier and loftier by the minute.
On the 29th, I felt a little discouraged because I had a few chapters left to write to get to the first pinch point and only wrote 50 words because we’d been at Universal Studios all day long.
Then on the 30th, my husband had some work that he needed to do on the computer in our hotel, so we stayed in and I wrote.
I still felt discouraged in the beginning because the scene I was on was super awkward and it made writing difficult.
However . . .
I got that scene written, then wrote through the next two chapters and the first scene of a third where . . .
I wrote the first pinch point!
Setting good goals can make a world of difference.
I’m so much farther than I would have been otherwise.
I hope in this new year that you all set goals that will stretch you and enable you to do your best.
Happy goal setting!