1. Snooks88

    Snooks88 New Member

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    Act Three - Writing the finale!

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by Snooks88, Jun 8, 2020.

    Hi all, this is my first post!

    So I've been writing a rom-com. I'm 60k words in so I'm very close to the end, but now that it's here I'm struggling A LOT with how t finish it. I've been using the save the cat method so far (has anyone else used this?). This explains that most good stories have a five point structure finale (gathering the team/executing the plan/high tower surprise/dig deep down and execution of new plan) but I feel like my imagined end is a lot less dramatic than this.

    Basic premise: Girl is desperate for a boyfriend - she thinks it'll complete her and make her happy. She dates (alot), finds someone she really likes, who turns out to be a f**k boy. When I started writing, I knew I wanted my character to end up single and happy, to prove that you don't have to be in a relationship to feel whole.

    In order for her to learn her lesson, he needs to come back to her so she can say no, but he's been awful to her so far, which might be unrealistic (but maybe not).

    My question's are:
    1) Does there need to be a lot of back and forth in the finale chapter? I haven't got a huge twist, other than for her to say no to this boy. This isn't an action adventure which is why I think I'm struggling to match the story beats to my simple rom com.

    2) Is it unrealistic for an awful guy you've dated, to come back and ask to start seeing you again?

    Sorry if this is a ramble. I'm just really struggling to motivate myself and feel a lack of self confidence in my writing and plot in general. Which leads on to: How do I ignore my self doubt and just keep going?
     
  2. TheOtherPromise

    TheOtherPromise Senior Member

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    First off, this book does not sound like a rom-com and should probably not be advertised as such. A romance essentially requires that the couple end up together at the end, at least that's my take on the genre, and subverting it will likely upset most of your audience if they think the story is supposed to be a romance.

    Now on to your questions:
    I don't think there has to be much back and forth in the ending. While act 3 can have twists and turns to it, from my understanding, that is more something that occurs in act 2.

    I'd say it's very realistic for someone to want to get back together with an ex, especially depending on the whys and hows of the breakup.

    I do question whether her turning him down is intense enough to work for a climax. It could be, depending on how you write it, and I don't know anything about the events leading up to this moment. But it seems to me that a more dramatic conclusion would involve her breaking up with him while they are together. It takes a lot more courage to leave a relationship than just to not enter one, at least that's my take. As I said, I don't know how your plot is playing out so you can safely ignore this paragraph if it doesn't work with your vision.

    As for your final question about overcoming self-doubt, I can't offer any advice on that front since I struggle with it too. If anyone out there does have an answer, feel free to share it with the class.

    Lastly, welcome to the forums, I've found them to be a great place to chat about writing and improve upon the craft.
     
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  3. Steve Rivers

    Steve Rivers Contributor Contributor

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    Since I completely agree with all of @TheOtherPromise 's post, ill just add to it with the last bit about self doubt.

    Everyone has self-doubt, @Snooks88 . The key to overcoming it is to recognize it for what it is, and say "It is normal for me to feel that way. I will deal with it later, I will get the book/story/whatever done first." If you deal with the self-doubt now, it'll just hamper you.
    Pretend its physical. Put it in a mental box, put it to one side.
    It's there, yep, it wont go away, but everytime it pokes you, "I see you, I recognize you for what you are. Back in the box with you, Im pushing you aside again."
     
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  4. Lifeline

    Lifeline South. Supporter Contributor

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    I completely agree. This should be enshrined somewhere.
     
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  5. Cephus

    Cephus Contributor Contributor

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    I agree with @TheOtherPromise. Romances follow very specific tropes and without those tropes, you are simply not writing romance. You can have *A* romance in your non-romance book, but if you expect romance readers to read it, you have to provide a happily-ever-after (or happily-for-now) ending.
     
  6. Snooks88

    Snooks88 New Member

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    Thanks for all of your comments! Really appreciated. I'll have a think of what the genre instead is, but that definitely makes sense!
    As for the confidence, it's so difficult to lock it away but I'll work on it. It's not helping me at all if it's hindering my writing, nothing good is coming from it, so I'm trying to remember these points when the thoughts arise! X
     
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  7. jannert

    jannert Retired Mod Supporter Contributor

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    I found myself wanting to ask you a lot of questions, when I read your OP, @Snooks88 .

    Is your character preferring the single life because her boyfriend was not a good guy? That's different from preferring the single life because she doesn't want to be encumbered in a relationship (ANY relationship), at least for now?

    In other words, how would she feel if the guy had been Mr Right? Would she still want to be free of the relationship, at least for now?

    In any situation of this sort, there will be a moment of catharsis, where she suddenly realises something. What is it that 'something'? And what makes it happen?
     
  8. Steve Rivers

    Steve Rivers Contributor Contributor

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    As i say, it's a repetition thing you have to train yourself with, its not about locking it in the box so much and assuming it wont come back. Its about training yourself to identify when you see yourself doing it, and pretend you're putting it to one side. That way, instead of consuming your thoughts for 10,20, however minutes, and possibly derail your day even, you spot it straight away, and it only took up 10-20 seconds of your time.
     
  9. J.D. Ray

    J.D. Ray Member Supporter Contributor

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    Regardless of genre, consider what provides the climax for the story (no double-entendre intended). It seems to me, based on your sketch, is that her rejecting him when he comes crawling back should be part of the denouement rather than the crescendo. What does she go through to arrive at the realization that she's fine being alone? Part of that could be the "final straw" moment for her with a big fight with him and her telling him in no uncertain terms what sort of asshole he really is. Later, when he comes crawling back, he can say he thought about it and she's right and he's willing to change, to which she replies, "too little, too late."

    Take a look at the "hero's journey" model and see if it fits. I'm teetering on the edge of writing your novel for you, and I don't want to sound like I'm telling you what you should do; these are just ideas to give you fodder.

    Cheers. And welcome aboard.

    JD
     
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  10. Xoic

    Xoic Prognosticator of Arcana Ridiculosum Contributor Blogerator

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    I want to riff on the idea of setting up a story *as if* it's a particular genre and then deliberately subverting that genre.

    Have you seen the movie Sucker Punch? That's exactly what it was, on a grand scale, and in fact it's the whole twist. He deliberately set the audience up to believe it was a cool CGI action/adventure sci-fi/fantasy thing with sexy girls, and then it turned out those were only the brief dream or fantasy segments and the rest of the movie was the total opposite, and in fact a deliberate undermining of audience expectations (that the director very knowingly fostered). And then he even came out shortly after the premiere and posted a sneering indictment of the males who went hoping to see—well, the kind of movie he advertised it to be in all the trailers. "How DARE you leer at sexy women in provocative costumes! Don't you know, it's the current year! You're all neanderthal perverts." Yeah—but wait. You created that movie, with sexy girls in skimpy costumes. You were all too happy to cash in knowing it would bring in a massive audience (a case of wanting to eat his cake but still have it). You made those choices yourself, and then pulled the rug out from under it all. When the audience (the specific audience it was marketed for) payed their money and are a captive audience, they get a few minutes of that followed by lengthy lectures about how naughty they are and how ashamed they should be for their natural instincts and desires.Talk about hypocrisy!

    Whenever somebody does the old bait-and-switch in this way I always think "Great—they're setting their audience up to get Sucker Punched". A very apt name for it.
     
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  11. Cephus

    Cephus Contributor Contributor

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    You do know that Sucker Punch was a complete failure, right?
     
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  12. J.D. Ray

    J.D. Ray Member Supporter Contributor

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    I had the sense that The Witcher did this on purpose. I didn't read any of the source material, and had no idea what it was about when I started watching. What I saw was a series where the first three or so episodes seemed very male-dominated, tough-guy fantasy with scantily-clad women needing rescue. Starting about episode four, the women took over, and turned out to be who the story was about, including their existing power and further empowerment. Also, (spoiler alert) they dress that way because they want to, not because it's expected of them. I ended up enjoying it more in the latter half of the season than I did in the first half.
     
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  13. Xoic

    Xoic Prognosticator of Arcana Ridiculosum Contributor Blogerator

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    Exactly! Like all these recent Star Wars movies made to subvert the expectations of Star Wars fans. Let it be a lesson to the subversives.
     
  14. Xoic

    Xoic Prognosticator of Arcana Ridiculosum Contributor Blogerator

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    It can be done well or it can be a train wreck. I haven't seen Witcher but I have seen fans of the original series who hate the movie(s?) (TV series? Whatever). But either way, it seems like a bad idea to me to deliberately cater to a particular audience and then chastise them. Unless you want to be hated of course, which some people apparently do.
     
  15. J.D. Ray

    J.D. Ray Member Supporter Contributor

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    The interesting part is that it didn't come off that way. It was more a "frog in a pot" approach. I'm quite possibly in the minority of people who noticed, though I did exactly zero social media research to find out.
     
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  16. Xoic

    Xoic Prognosticator of Arcana Ridiculosum Contributor Blogerator

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    It may take longer, but don't the frogs still end up dead? o_O

    Or maybe the men weren't treated as total buffoons. I have no problem with powerful women in movies/stories etc as long as it isn't with a nasty agenda and entirely at the expense of the males or aimed at 'teaching a lesson' to all males.
     
    Last edited: Jun 9, 2020
  17. Cephus

    Cephus Contributor Contributor

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    At least the Star Wars movies mostly made money and got some positive press, as undeserved as it was. Sucker Punch got panned by pretty much everyone and lost money at the box office. Rian Johnson might have tried to subvert expectations but instead, he just made an objectively bad movie and JJ Abrams wasn't much better.
     
  18. Xoic

    Xoic Prognosticator of Arcana Ridiculosum Contributor Blogerator

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    I apologize for this going so far off topic @Snooks88!! I now return you to your regularly programmed scheduling...
     
  19. J.D. Ray

    J.D. Ray Member Supporter Contributor

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    Not at all. The men continued to be manly (in most cases), doing manly things. You should watch the series and see for yourself, though. Your interpretation may be entirely different than mine.
     
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  20. marshipan

    marshipan Contributor Contributor

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    Romancing the Beat is a great book that will break down the acts for romance specifically. I think you would benefit from it since you like Save the Cat.
     
  21. marshipan

    marshipan Contributor Contributor

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    Also, I agree that with others that with that ending, this is women's fiction, not romance.
     

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