In chess, the rook is a valuable piece. When the game begins, it sits at the corners of the board next to the knights. It can move horizontally or vertically and can capture opposing pieces. Like the bishop, it can also create a situation where it places two enemy pieces in danger at once. But what is probably most fascinating about the moves a rook can make is what is called a castle, which is where the king moves two spaces and the rook jumps over the king to be beside it. Besides the knight, this move is also the only other move where pieces can jump one another. In this respect, the rook plays a unique role with the king.
Plot has a unique role in the novel. It keeps the reader turning pages. There’s been numerous books written on plotting technique, so I’ll leave the details and the mechanics of plotting to others. I want to focus on the three acts that each novel should have.
Act I – Getting to Know You. Based on the reading of done on plot technique, this is about the first twenty percent of the story. It’s the place where you introduce your protagonist, antagonist and all major secondary characters. I encourage you to follow the same pattern regarding characters because it allows your readers to build a relationship with them.
Act II – Ups and Downs. This is by far the largest part of your novel, about the next seventy percent or so. This is where your protagonist encounters all sorts of setbacks and conflicts that he must overcome in order to achieve his objective. It can be challenging to write and avoid what’s called a sagging middle.
Act III – Put a Bow on It. This is what I call the wrapping up of the novel. It’s after the “final battle” for the protagonist where you can wrap up the loose ends associated with all of the smaller skirmishes and the final battle. If you’re writing a series, it’s also the place where you want to work to make people pick up the next novel. Personally, this is the hardest part of the novel to write. Why? Because I’m usually spent by then. But since most of my novels are part of a series, I need to create enough questions for the reader to want to buy my next book. Of course, maybe your novel is the last book of a series. What then? Tie up the loose ends so that the reader puts the book down with a smile on her face.
Like the rook, the plot of a novel has a unique role by keeping the reader turning the pages. Plot well, regardless of what method you use. Tighten it up with editing, and you’ll keep your readers enthralled for the entire length of the book.
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