In a conventional three-act structure, the goal of the first act is to establish the main character and her internal motivation, since we need to know who the character is before we know why, or if, we care.
We like to know what’s at stake for the character in her quest and what will stand in her way before we reach that pivotal moment that propels us and the character into a new direction, and the second act (this according to “The Nighttime Novelist” by Joseph Bates, a book my sister-in-law gave me).
The book takes a coffee break at the end of each act to review progress – to ensure the voice you’ve set up to tell the story remains true.
My voice began to take shape three years ago this week when I was attempting to win an argument with my husband. Just before admitting defeat I said, “If I could write my position, you’d understand.” He told me to write it, and when he went to work the next day, I started writing.
My position was posted on a Chicago sports blog where it registered hundreds of views the first day. My husband encouraged me to start my own blog. A few days later I did, and that “position” became my first post.
I enjoy reading the last post on a blog and that person’s first post. There’s such raw emotion in a blog’s first post, as if their fingers could hardly keep pace with thoughts that fire in rapid succession. There seems to be a delicate balance between creating a refined, well-edited story, and wearing your emotions on your fingertips for the world to read. A little of both seems ideal, however difficult this may be to achieve.
Last month I took the WordPress Blogging 101 on-line course – along with hundreds of other bloggers across the Planet. A new homework assignment dropped in our email each night, and it wasn’t long before I realized blogging could become a full-time job. I said to my husband, “I know they are going to suggest we change our blog’s theme, and I’m not going to change my blog.” I changed my blog – trying at least a dozen themes before settling on an entirely new look.
The first act seemed to be ending – a good time to review my progress, freshen my look, and ensure my voice remains true in every post.
Some folks write their posts well in advance, schedule them to publish at the most opportune viewing moment, and go on with their day.
Then there is my style. . .
write every word in my brain on this topic, edit, edit, edit, preview, edit, preview, edit, edit, edit – all on the day before I hit Publish, at which time I ask my husband to read it, wait for him to say, “Good”, or “Hmmmm,” sleep on it, or lie awake and re-write everything in my brain, preview it again over coffee the next morning, edit an untold additional number of times before finally I hit Publish. . . eyes clenched shut.
It’s exhausting, and I love every minute. Here’s to Act Two.
My first post: It’s Not About The Race; A Runner’s Perspective