Write Your Novel Step by Step (Home Page)

Write Your Novel
Step by Step

By Melanie Anne Phillips
Creator of StoryWeaver

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~ Step 114 ~

Characters - Act Two Beginning

Act two is all about character growth.  Previously, you described how you wanted your characters to grow in their roles and relationships in the second act in general.   Now, we need to get a bit more precise about the order in which specific moments of growth will occur.

The beginning of act two is an important one for your characters.  While they developed impressions of one another in the first act (and your readers developed first impressions of them as well), they know little beyond the surface each presents.

In act two, some characters will grow by showing just how deep or shallow these initial attributes really are.  Some will grow by revealing (intentionally or unintentionally) that they aren't necessarily exactly like the impression they had given.  And others will illustrate in powerful ways just how different they really are.

Toward the end of act one, you may have divulged additional information about characters you had already introduced in the beginning and middle of that act.  But this information would have been no more that further details about what you had already established for those characters.

Here at the beginning of act two, you'll be doing something different - you'll establish the direction of growth for these characters, either deeper into their existing traits or in gradual or sudden new directions.  Your readers might see the first cracks in a facade, and through them, the glimmer of a more intense, more basic nature.

Beyond the roles and relationships, don't forget that your characters are people too.  Though when it comes to the drama, they may be single-minded, when it comes to life in general, they should be as well-developed and diversified as any real person.

So use act two to reveal personality quirks, histories, physical maladies, and other attributes that have no direct bearing on the course of the story, but every importance to the mood and timbre of the experience for your readers.

For this step, then, refer way back to your characters’ attributes and also to the introductions of them and their relationships.  Then list or describe in short scenarios the additional material you’d like to reveal to your readers in the beginning of act two, beyond that which you already included in act one.