You might ask why I decided not to continue breaking down the entire story act by act. Or maybe not, but I’ll tell you anyway. Not all stories have exemplary structure. But most of them capture a certain element of structure and do it well enough to spotlight and learn from.
And this week we’re looking at KAT INCORRIGIBLE by Stephanie Burgis.
By the end of Act I, we know everything we need to know. The set up is perfect.
We know her goals. Kat starts in the first line by trying to run away. Basically, she fails in her plan to save her family from financial and social ruin.
But will she try again? That’s the debate.
We know the antagonist. Clearly, if Elissa’s soon-to-be husband is a possible murderer, there will be problems.
We see her flaws in action. She’s stubborn. She refuses to listen, regardless of long lectures. And she misses her mother.
We get a terrific feel for the family dynamics. Kat’s relationship with her sisters and how they are portrayed is extremely realistic – fighting and competitive but loyal and loving. Wonderful characters. I fell in love with Kat and would’ve followed her anywhere.
But if the story had stayed in that place for too long, I might have lost interest. After the set up, the story must move forward!
And that’s what happens. After Kat learns she is part of a secret order of guardians, her family packs their bags and heads off to the Abby for Elissa to meet Sir Neville. And that’s where the rest of the story takes place.
But the Break into Two was so effective. Kat had made the definite decision to help her family even if she’s not sure how to do it. The stakes have become more serious (you’ll have to read it to find out how). And they are off for the main part of the story with a different setting and new characters.
We’re ready for the Fun and Games to start!
How does your set-up and transition into Act II hold up?