13 Week Rewrite: Week Six – False Victory

This week your hero will experience something that leads her to believe there’s a chance she’ll achieve her goal. This is a critical point, because without it, your reader won’t understand the meaning the hero ascribes to her goal.

Each story point is built upon the previous story point. The hero’s decision at the end of Act One provides the context for this moment of false hope, which then informs the midpoint, and so on. By putting your protagonist in a situation that causes her to believe that she has a chance at achieving her goal, you’re providing a glimpse of the power of your hero’s will.

Often, the experience of victory temporarily overshadows the underlying struggle. Winning the battle is mistaken for winning the war. Again, it is the difference between solving a problem and resolving a plight; this point in the story is an opportunity to show your readers the meaning your hero makes out of her goal, so that when she arrives at the end of Act Two, the reader will understand what it means for her to reframe her relationship to it.

In Act Two, the gulf between what your hero wants and what she needs begins to widen. She began the story with a false belief. She’s made meaning out of it, and, as the story progresses through Act Two, circumstances demonstrate precisely how this false belief influences her choices. The stakes are raised and the conflict heightens as a result of the hero attempting to square her goal with her struggle against the antagonistic forces that conspire to have her question this false belief.

This week, ask yourself:

  • What does this moment of false victory look like for your hero?
  • What has she discovered, overcome, or figured out?
  • How can you show an identifiable shift in your hero at this point in the story, to illustrate precisely how she’s grown or changed from the beginning?
  • How has your hero’s relationship to the antagonists altered as a result of this temporary victory?
  • How does the moment of false victory illustrate your hero’s idea of her goal?
  • Can you see how her idea of her goal is going to shift as the story progresses?

As a practical example, please have a look at the moment of false victory in The Romance of Eowain on Wattpad: Chapter 8, sc 20; Chapter 9, sc 21, 22, 23, 24.

And that’s it for this week. Good luck with your ongoing rewrite, and we’ll see you again next week!

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About

Michael Dellert is an award-winning writer, editor, publishing consultant, and writing coach with a publishing career spanning 18 years. He is currently working as an independent freelancer. He lives in the Greater New York City area.

Posted in Editing, Process, Writing craft

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The Author
Michael Dellert is an award-winning writer, editor, publishing consultant, and writing coach with a publishing career spanning 18 years. He is currently working as an independent freelancer. He lives in the Greater New York City area.
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