Screenwriting Tricks for Authors

Writing Act II: The Third Quarter Drop Dead

In the next few weeks we’ll be breaking down the essential components of Act III of your book or script: The Final Battle.

But before we move on, there’s something else I’d like to point out about Act II: Part 2, the third quarter of your story. I find that right about now is very often when writers hit the wall and abandon their books or scripts.

Let’s face it; it’s easy to write an Act I. It’s new, it’s fresh, it’s exciting—it’s like the first flush of being in love. You’re so high on endorphins you don’t stop to think, and that means you don’t get in your own way.

It can even be not so hard to get through Act II: Part 1to the Midpoint.

But it’s that third quarter, Act II:2, where things get murky. You feel like you’re not getting anywhere. In fact, you have no freaking clue where you are, or why in the hell you’re wherever the hell you are to begin with, and you just want to give up and sleep for a week, or eat chocolate and watch television for a week, or all of the above. In my own life, I have more than once declared to my significant other that I’m going to have to give back the book advance because I’m just never going to be able to pull the thing off.

I had a friend in movie development who called it “The third-quarter drop dead.”

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