While going through this book to polish and make the last tweakings, I realized I wasn’t happy with the ending. It just didn’t have the punch I wanted–the punch that I try to put into all my romances. It didn’t have enough PLOT.
The answer to this dilemma, of course, was to test the plot using the method I described in my book Fill-in-the-Blank Plotting, published by Crickhollow Books, which is available on Amazon: Fill-in-the-Blank Plotting
I pulled out my plotting boards, with the 12 steps of the Hero’s Journey on one board, and chapter numbers divided into the Three-Act Structure on the other. I went through the novel and wrote the key scenes on cards and placed them into the steps of the Hero’s Journey. Then, I moved all those cards to the Three-Act Structure board.
It was easy to see, once the cards were in the Three-Act Structure, that the plot had big holes in it! There simply wasn’t enough plot in the last quarter of the book–where the climax of the story occurs. I had to rewrite the last fourth of the book, inserting a subplot that would put Chloe into a position of having to choose between “the lesser of two evils.” This decision hits the reader as hard as it hits Chloe, and it casts doubt on what Chloe will have to do to make it all work out for the best.
This book uses a tried-and-true romance novel premise–one woman, two men. Chloe has to choose between Greg and Kyle. In the original version, Chloe–no matter who she chose–would’ve felt bad about rejecting the other man. That simply won’t work in a romance. And yet, there have to be good qualities in each man to create doubt in the reader’s mind about who she’s going to choose. By inserting a harrowing decision, which puts Chloe into the position of having to make her choice based entirely on love, I knew the reader would agonize along with her–wondering the whole time how it would work out, and hoping for the happy ending all romances are required to have.
That’s the magic of the Hero’s Journey combined with the Three-Act Structure, with the elements of the plot displayed on a board where it’s easy to see the gaps in the story–and how to fill those gaps.
I’m exceptionally pleased now with the ending of this book.
I think you’ll be pleased, too.