In Act II there is something that Blake Snyder refers to as the B story (or basically the subplot).
And this is where you bring in the emotion, the personal stakes.
I figured with a humorous mystery like I SO DON’T DO SPOOKY that the emotion might be on the weak side. With the focus being on the mystery.
Boy was I wrong.
Barrie Summy does an incredible job balancing the main storyline or the Fun and Games of the first part of Act II with the B story.
In other words, the mystery is there but we connect to Sherry when we realize how much she misses her mother, which makes us care more about the mystery.
The emotion of the B story provides the motivation for the character to solve the mystery.
Below is a one-sentence break down of Act II
Break into two: (protagonist must make a proactive decision)
Sherry and her best friend, Junie, make a plan to follow leads.
B story: (the love story – not always romantic)
Sherry misses her mom (who is a ghost) and wants to earn some “real time” with her by solving the mystery.
Fun and Games: (the heart of the book – why we read it)
Sherry investigates and follows clue after clue – some of them leading to a dead end, but others set up the midpoint and climax.
Midpoint: (stakes are raised significantly – another big game changer)
In her undercover work, Sherry is found out and dropped off in the middle of a desert where she learns that the Ruler’s stalker is a ghost!
Bad guys close in: (Things get worse.)
Sherry goes ghost hunting with a “real” ghost hunter and learns how to catch a ghost and she learns who the ghost might be.
All is lost and Dark night of the soul:
The mystery continues and more truths are revealed but I didn’t find a true dark moment where Sherry feels all is lost. She does feel the stress of time running out, but that’s not quite the same thing.
And this ends Act II. So without that dark moment how did I know where Act III started? With an obvious Break into three. But that’s next Monday.
How do you add emotion to your main storyline so it works? Share your tips.