With the galleys of THE EIGHTH DAY mailed back to the publisher and revisions of Book 2 sent to my editor, the time came to face Book 3. So I called on my characters for help ...
Dianne: Hello, team! Glad to have you all back for Book 3 in this series – and to the new characters, welcome. I assume you’ve seen the proposed outline for the next book, and ...well ... you know I’m not very good with outlines. But after two books, we’re used to working together, so I figure you guys will know where I’m going astray.
MG Protagonist: Well, there’s something majorly wrong with the climax. In the first book, we saved the world. I mean, the Villain was this close to succeeding. (holds up his fingers a millimeter apart) And in the second book, you backed off from that. There was plenty of exciting stuff, all right – my identity was at stake, and my two YA friends’ lives were in danger … But it was all very personal.
YA Character 1: Yeah, he’s right. Personal stakes were okay for Book 2, but in Book 3, we’ve got to get back to saving the world.
Dianne: But the New Villain has an evil plan … That's End of the World stuff right there.
YA Character 2: And you have us stopping him while he’s still three or four steps away from succeeding. Not very scary.
Dianne: I see your point.
New MG Character: If you let the New Villain get a little closer to success, he’s going to have to involve me. I’m going to have to make up my mind which side I’m on. Won’t that solve the problem you’re having with my character arc?
Dianne: You’re right. It will! Good idea!
New Villain: I object to my cartoonish nature. You did everything but give me a cape to swoop and a mustache to twirl. Can’t you provide me with some depth?
Dianne: Not in the outline, buster. You’re going to have to develop your personality on the page, just like everybody else here.
YA Character 1: Yeah. You should have seen how she had me planned in her outline for Book 1. But I set her straight by the end of the first draft.
Secondary MG Character: Hey, how come I don’t show up until the middle of the book? I was beginning to think I didn’t have a part!
Dianne: We couldn’t have a story without you! Readers simultaneously love you and want to strangle you. But you aren't needed until this part.
Secondary MG Character: But after you bring me in, I’ve got nothing to do. I don’t even see my name mentioned in the climax!
Dianne: I didn’t know how I was going to use you in the climax of Book 1 either, but I brought you along for the ride – and when the time came, I discovered what you needed to do. Trust me. You’re my wild card. When it’s time to use you, I’ll know.
Secondary YA Character: Now it’s my turn to complain. What’s this about me possibly dying?!
Dianne: It’s the third book. There should be casualties. We can’t just kill off bad guys and lose none of our own. What do you think this is, the Twilight series?
Secondary YA Character: But why me? Do you know how many times I’ve saved his life or bailed him out of trouble? (points at YA Character 1)
Dianne: That’s kind of why you have to go. That and your unrequited feelings for him.
YA Character 1: (holds his hands up) Hey, don’t kill her off for the sake of my character arc. I don’t want to take the rap for that!
MG Protagonist: I don’t think it’s fair for you to kill her as a cheap emotional trick.
Secondary YA Character: I refuse to be the All is Lost Moment! (starts cleaning her weapons in a threatening manner)
Dianne: I wouldn’t waste you like that. If you go, it will be a Turning Point – a Courageous Sacrifice for your friends. Otherwise, I won’t do it. Deal?
Secondary YA Character: (puts away her weapons) Deal. I’m never going to win his heart away from her anyway. (shoots a dirty glance at YA Character 2) I might as well go out in a Blaze of Glory.
YA Character 2: (under her breath) Please do.
MG Protagonist: Hey, the ending scene is all right by the way. Good job there. All that mushy stuff between the YA characters is over and it’s back to me. Me and my MG friends and How I’ve Grown Up Since Book 1. But there’s still room for more, know what I mean? I’m only in eighth grade after all.
Dianne: That’s what we’re working toward, then. That ending. Okay, folks. Let me mull over the World Stakes Climax and New MG Character's arc, and we’ll meet back here for Chapter 1 in a couple days. We can do this. Right?
Right? Cross your fingers for me, PM readers. I hope I can do this!