As I continue outlining the novel that I originally started as a pantster, I’ve developed a strange obsession. I keep starting new books, only reading through the end of Act I and starting a new one.
I’m hung up on seeing how other authors are building their opening act.
- Is the opening scene an introduction to the character or can I see bits and pieces hiding among the description and action that will be important to remember in Act II or III?
- What is the call to action? Is it strong enough to keep the protagonist in the game?
- Is a mentor introduced? How natural or forced is her relationship with the protagonist?
- Is the point of no return really a line in the sand that the protagonist can never cross back?
So many questions and they all come back to structure!
What at first seemed like losing interest early on has turned into a writing tool. I’ve always read that I should keep reading other author’s works while I am in the midst of writing. On the surface I had considered reading while writing to be a distraction and feared I’d subconsciously steal ideas from the book I was reading. This experience has opened my eyes to the real reason we should read while writing and for me it’s all about understanding structure.
Are you an avid reader when deep in writing mode? I’ve been mixing up genres from the one I’m writing. Do you think you should stick with your writing genre or do you think varying reading genres can offer some interesting insights into your own work?