Parts of a Novel: 2 of 6: Opportunity for Change

2 of 6Last time I talked about how the novel can be broken down into six parts. We also discussed how the first 5% of the novel is on The Setup. Now that the reader has fallen in love with your character and has an understanding of how your world works it’s time to present am Opportunity for Change. This Opportunity for Change is Part 2 of 6 of your novel.

Similar to part one part two is also 5% of the novel. Out of a 300 page manuscript pages 15 – 30 are here to help introduce something new to the world. That something, if pursued, will change our hero’s life and possibly their world forever.

This is the part of the story that begins to make things interesting. Each story will be different. Did your hero find a magical ring? Did the hero overhear a secret they shouldn’t? Was your hero offered a new job? Whatever the case maybe, the Opportunity for Change needs to turn your hero’s world upside down.

The change doesn’t necessarily always have to be positive. Has the hero been cursed? Have they been wrongfully imprisoned? Is their new boss a jerk? While we typically want to write in an upbeat way there are times where we have to make bad things happen. Chaos is interesting.

Whatever the change is it will be the driving force for the rest of the novel. Take my novel for example. My hero lives in an arid desert world; the Opportunity for Change comes when the hero find a book that mentions water.

The Opportunity for Change needs to always come at a cost. Pursuing the change must not be a decision that the hero can accept easily. While the hero’s first reaction may be to accept/reject the opportunity they must evaluate the consequences (good or bad) before pursuing the change. This evaluation happens in the 3rd part of the novel, which will be discussed next time.

On a side note I would like to say that the percentage for each section is more of a guideline. These percents are rough cookie cutter examples to help the pacing of the story. As the novelist it is you job to determine if the pacing needs to move quicker or slower throughout the novel.

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