12-Week Challenge: Week One

This week’s focus was “Normal Life: As the protagonists know it.”

Ironically, real normal life went out the window. Storms knocked out electricity and the Internet from Wednesday evening to Thursday evening, followed by a power loss Saturday morning and brief black-outs Sunday.

To be blunt, I couldn’t access my novel, so I didn’t reach my goal.

The first two chapters are nearly perfect, including their titles: The Boy Who Wanted to Leave and The Girl Who Wanted to Stay. They set the pattern of switching points when the protagonists are separated.

The third chapter, which throws Favius into peril, is short and fast.

However, the fourth chapter is too long. I can distill Argenta’s actions into later dialogue, but it’s crucial to keep her interactions with key supporting characters. The reader needs to know them before Favius meets them – which is coming up.

Week Two: September 27

Inciting event for boy-protagonist. Meeting of protagonists. Inciting event for girl-character.

12-Week Challenge: 2021 Fall Final Draft

I won’t lie: I based this challenge on a real course. While looking for professional advice for polishing the Book One draft, I received a friend-of-a-friend recommendation. Unfortunately, the course is for a FIRST draft (not Draft 3.2) and conflicts with my work schedule.

The syllabus emphasized plot-structure pacing. According to the instructor, plot points and/or conflicts occur about 4,000 words apart. Therefore, Week One has a lecture about The Hook (the reader’s emotional engagement) and requires students to write a lead-in to the first plot-point.

I got a silly vision of handing my boy-protagonist a weekly schedule and saying, “This is what I need you to do.” (The girl-protagonist would promptly flip the paper over to draw pictures.)

Yet that’s what I’m doing. Here’s my 12-week challenge schedule, and theme of the particular plot point or conflict.

Week One: September 20

Normal Life. As the protagonists know it.

Week Two: September 27

Inciting event for boy-protagonist. Meeting of protagonists. Inciting event for girl-character.

Week Three: October 4

Temporary Shelter. Protagonists think antagonist is thwarted and her problem will resolve itself.

Week Four: October 11

Rude awakening. Protagonists look to each other for help as situation is worse than thought.

Week Five: October 18

Separation 1. This is the “ditching the adults” part of children’s novels.

Week Six: October 25

The Crossroads.

Week Seven: November 1

The Breather. Aftermath of previous decision/loss.

Week Eight: November 8

Picking Up the Pace. Two chapters in which protagonists can’t address the ramifications of one conflict before another begins. Their goals clash. characters can’t properly address the ramifications of one conflict before another begins)

Week Nine: November 15

Hard Decisions. Separation of the protagonists.

Week Ten: November 22

Darkest Night. Separate chapters for each protagonist, each with an unexpected twist.

Week Eleven: November 29

The Climactic Sequence.  

Week Twelve: December 6

What happened afterwards; lead-in to next book.