Fun and Games Inside the Belly of the Beast


icarisbitSomebody who would be a brilliant writer if he stuck with it said to me, “I got a good ways in and then the whole story petered out.”  I hear that a lot. The novel gets off to a great start and then….


Sometimes the writer knows how the story is going to end, but can’t bear the tedium of writing the protagonist through the path to that excellent final scene.

That middle bit, as we leave our Act One, with our protagonist set up for and locked into the story goal, is the section Blake Snyder, in his superb Save the Cat, refers to as “Fun and Games” – the section they pay the money to come see at the movies. The part they pay to see again.

How wonderful to see our protagonist and his allies – and the antagonist, as well, whether it’s wind, sea or Sauron – growing and changing and doing, believably, what they’d never do, as master teacher Donald Maass reminds us regarding character growth.

I told that fellow who petered out that he’s just heading into the part of his story that can very well be the most fun to write, after all.  So, lucky it’s the longest section, right?  He didn’t answer.  Anyway, I’d rather read the answer in his book.

Blake Snyder, Save the Cat, Studio City, CA : M. Wiese Productions, 2005.

Christopher Vogler The Writer’s Journey, Mythic Structure for Writers. Sheridan Books Inc,  2007 – Third Ed.

Donald Maass, Writing the Breakout Novel Workbook. Writer’s Digest Books, 2004.

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