Into the second act crawl

Well, I just barely made my goal of starting to draft again in March—I started drafting Act II at the start of last full week. And like much of my writing process, I got sick of editing and outlining and decided to just start writing, hoping I’d figure it out along the way.

I estimate I’m about 25% of the way through of the first half of the second act (I break the second act into two parts structurally in my mind). The drafting is going fast, but I’m having a lot of word wastage. Meaning for every 1000 words I write I only keep on average 800 of them which, I’ve decided, is due to the nature of the second act.

The first half of the second act the characters are often trying to figure out what’s going on and reacting to the events of the first act. As a result, it often seems listless—sure feels listless writing it. And that’s a problem of perception. When you write in 300-400 word chunks a day and you’re trying to get your characters to the next plot point, this section can feel really really slow. I written pages of trying to get characters certain places or things, only to become disgusted with how long it was taking and backing up and tossing it all out and figuring out a faster way to achieve these things.

The saving grace here is editing. Oh, the editing will definitely suck and it’ll annoy me, but while I’m drafting I can happily plow ahead, knowing future Jeffrey will come in behind me (grumbling) and pick everything up.

I also have major plot points to build toward which is more than I usually have. I have a solid idea of what needs to happen at the midpoint, second/third act break, and at the climax. With those anchor points, it’s easier (note: easier, not easy) to draw the connecting points between them.

I’m hoping to have the first half of the second act drafting done by end of June as a low bar target, and the end of May as a high bar target. My drafting speed is running a bit hot right now so that the May target looks achievable, but I’ve written second acts before and I know all too well how suddenly everything can grind to a halt.

Hopefully, the drafting speed stays high until the next update!

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