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Relentless Application II - Labors, Sins, and Six Acts


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Now that you've fully absorbed Relentless Application I, you must approach Part II.
 
It begins with Labors, Sins, and Six Acts. Read this article in its entirety. It concludes with a great deal of linkage to important essays and articles on novel conception, development, and narrative style, as well as on the many pitfalls of poor preparation. Will there be sources of revelation or items of crucial guidance you’re not yet aware of? Yes, no question, and like the discussion of dramatic act structure noted in RA I, the knowledge revealed here, in the context of developing and writing publishable commercial fiction, is generally non-negotiable. Why? Because for the most part, and like dramatic act structure, it details a score or more of important elements both publishers and readers demand be present in contemporary novels.
 
As a bonus, it dispels the ever-lingering smoke of ridiculously stupid advice by creating models and drawing examples directly from the best authors in all genres, and we refer to this method as "model-and-context." In other words, as an aspiring author you examine models of both narrative and structural technique utilized by numerous authors in a variety of ways, and by doing so, provide yourself with a bridge to application in the context of your own work-in-progress.
 
And btw, not one shred of this advice is arbitrary or culturally derived.
 
For example, we don't gavel-slam against the teaching of writing because the Iowa Writing Program bizarrely denies the possibility, or frown on plotting because Stephen King proclaims his divine disdain from the snow-job bluffs of Mt. Olympus.
 
But back to reality. If for some bad reason you have not, or cannot read every vital article contained in Labors, Sins, and Six Acts, get a cup of coffee, curl up before the fireplace for an hour or so, and read these asap:
 
And it’s not over yet. Alas! We must now inevitably stress the following three core elements because at the onset of novel conception they will have the biggest cascade effect on the work as a whole :
 
1.  Choice of Novel Setting
 
2.  Uniqueness of Primary Antagonist
 
3.  High-concept Premise
 
Consider the extreme necessity of a story idea that sounds sufficiently unique to stand out in today’s crowded market. Consider next the most important character in genre fiction, the antagonist, and their role in galvanizing the entire dramatic act structure.
 
And finally, consider that without a dynamic and intriguing setting how much more difficult it will be for you to create characters, complications, and circumstances that will sufficiently enhance the novel enough to make it truly memorable and quite marketable. Keep in mind also that theme, dramatic act structure, protagonist, and all else derive organically from these core elements.
 
And to answer ahead of time the one question that inevitably gets asked by writers who don’t wish to create an actual antagonist: can a protagonist be their own antagonist? Answer: they can be whatever you wish, but if you really desire to become published and therefore not waste time and effort on your manuscript, then follow the advice offered above and create a living, breathing antagonist (unless they’re space aliens who don’t need lungs).
 
NOTE: all NY Pitch writers should be prepared to discuss their work in the context of elements presented above.
 
Never forget, we are the makers of novels, and we are the dreamers of dreams.
 
There are no great writers, only great rewriters.

AC Admin

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