1. GuardianWynn
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    GuardianWynn Contributing Member Contributor

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    Arc Fatigue

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by GuardianWynn, Jun 9, 2016.

    A friend of mine defined Arc Fatigue as "When the enjoyment of the story is increased or decreased by the pace in which one sees a story."

    Not sure if that is a proper term. I sort of just wonder your guys general thoughts. I find it fascinating, and kind of wonder if anyone thinks this is something we writers who plan to traditionally publish should think about.

    Okay, encase my opening wasn't perfectly clear. Let me give a couple of examples.

    A TV show called Dragonball Z had a very slow rate. Little happened in any one episode. So if you restricted your viewing to once per week, it would feel ridicously slow, and would ruin most of the fun.

    A more personal example is my current work in progress.

    The climax of the story has a group of friends split up. And I switch POV to each of them. Because all their moments are exciting, and they aren't together. I figured the enjoyment of the scene might make up for any little distractions the switching POV caused. Which, has gotten mixed reviews. Some, hate or dislike it. Others love it!

    Mixed reviews made it a lot harder to judge how to go about editing these scenes. I noticed a trend though.

    People that read the material fast(under a week) are the ones that loved it.

    While people reading at a slower rate are the ones that didn't. Hence the title of the thread being Arc Fatique.

    I wonder if from a publisher standpoint that I am dead in the water! I also want general thoughts.

    @dreamersky1212
    Tagging Dreamer because we discussed this a bit in a private. So thought she might find it interesting.
     
  2. FireWater
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    FireWater Active Member

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    I used to have major issues with starting and and abandoning novel projects, not because of writer's block or commitment, but because of writing myself into a brick wall due to issues with pacing and structure.

    No matter how unique a story might be in terms of plot and ideas, there's a pacing structure that they all typically have in common. Getting the hang of this was what helped me make my novels work, to the point where I'm halfway through my WIP instead of realizing by page 40 that it's too messed up to go forward.

    Here is this basic structure:

    20% is the first "Plot Point," not to be mistaken for the hook or dynamic introduction (because they story should be interesting and hooking right from the get-go). The 20% is the point where Things Change Forever, i.e. Harry going off to Hogwarts, the LOTR company forming and setting off for Mordor, etc. This point could be either a physical journey, a discovery (like Neo learning the truth about what the Matrix is), or a personal shift where their current reality is shattered, but either way it marks a "point of no return."

    At the 30% to 35% mark, there's always some type of confrontation with the antagonist or a reminder of what's at stake -- some kind of unsettling moment where there's conflict and a sense of what could happen if the MC fails. Typically this has both an external element (outside conflict) and an element of the MC's own infallibility or weakness.

    50% is the point where the MC forms an empowered plan against the antagonist, or is on the offensive rather than the defensive. I.e. they're going forward as the leader of their agenda now, instead of simply being forced to deal with what's happening around them.

    60-66% is the "Pinch point 2," kind of like the one in the first 1/3 mark, but more serious, with something even larger at stake.

    75%-80% is where they have all the information they need, and the MC is heading into the climax scene. Everything from here is a sequence to the final climax and then resolution.

    There's tons of sources explaining this, but the one that made it "Click" for me is a site called Story Fix, by Larry Brooks. I highly recommend studying that site. It saved me.
     
  3. Elven Candy
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    Elven Candy Contributing Member

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    There's another possibility with your story: the readers who loved it read it quickly because they loved it. If I'm really enjoying a book, I don't like to put it down. If a book is "meh" to "okay," I put it down whenever something slightly more interesting pops up (unless I just want to get it over with/see how it ends). The issue might not be arc fatigue, it might be interest. Or is it just the POV switching that people love or hate? If that's the case . . .

    I, personally, hate it when an author switches POV halfway through a book. I read a book that a third of the way through switched POV for a chapter, and again for a couple chapters later, and again for quite a number of chapters. I loved the book, but whenever they switched from my favorite character's POV (main character), I had to put the book down for a while to calm my frustration. The issue was the author only started doing that far into the book, so I was fully engrossed in the MC before being jerked around between a couple other points of view. He was the one I was rooting for--I didn't care or want to read other points of view. The only reason I enjoyed the female character's point of view was because it was mostly about her opinions and interactions with him, so in a way he was still the POV character.

    I've also read a few books where the POV shifted often between characters, and it actually added to the book. The difference was these authors introduced this shifting of POV early on, so I was already prepared for it.
     

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