The second act. The mushy middle. The saggy center. The part of a story everyone hates. OK, I know how this ends in broad strokes, which characters I want around for future stories, who might die. (Hint: No Weasley twins will be around at the end, and the Doctor will be a woman.) But how to get there.
My writers group met this past weekend for the first time in months. I mentioned that JT would learn to be a pilot only to learn what John Glenn, Jim Lovell, and every shuttle pilot since 1981 already knew: Reentry problems are not going to go away. This led to a lot of reentry jokes and “That’s what she said” comments. Mind you I am the only guy in the group.
But I also am starting to bring all my meddling kids back together after the events of Second Wave (available on pre-order until its debut Wednesday!) Davra’s predicament brings her into contact with both Yuwono and Lucius Kray. JT and Duffy are training with real Navy and Marines along with friendly Gelt to retake Amargosa. And one character who was presumed dead at the end of Second Wave is going to reappear, thanks to JT’s underdeveloped piloting skills.
Scripting this has forced me to see where I’m at. The one-minute per page rule (which doesn’t really hold up, but there you go) now has me at 69 pages. (Huh huh. Huh huh huh huh huh.) My goal is to wrap this up by page 230. It’s kept more action in the story and revealed, and shown where infodumps will be inevitable. These will require Pope in the pool scenes. What are those?
It’s where you take a talky scene where info is dumped, and make it interesting to read or see. So-called by Save the Cat author Blake Snyder because his main example of this technique was a scene from a movie that literally had the Pope in a swimming pool while his uncomfortable Cardinals delivered him an infodump. I paid tribute to Snyder in The Marilynists by having a character named Pope in a pool deliver an infodump.
But I’m letting my characters, including my antagonists, get a little cocky and have everything go their way. Then I get to do what every author loves to do:
Completely wreck their lives.