Releasing your inner dragon

How to Write Rising Action - Mastering Pacing, Character Development and Plot Structure

March 28, 2024 Marie Mullany & Maxwell Alexander Drake Season 4 Episode 11
How to Write Rising Action - Mastering Pacing, Character Development and Plot Structure
Releasing your inner dragon
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Releasing your inner dragon
How to Write Rising Action - Mastering Pacing, Character Development and Plot Structure
Mar 28, 2024 Season 4 Episode 11
Marie Mullany & Maxwell Alexander Drake

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Join Drake and Marie as they discuss rising action, tension, pacing, character developments and most importantly: keeping your readers reading!

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Membership for Just In Time Worlds:

Give us feedback at releasingyourinnerdragon(at)gmail(dot)com


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Just In Time Worlds:

Show Notes Transcript

Send us a Text Message.

Join Drake and Marie as they discuss rising action, tension, pacing, character developments and most importantly: keeping your readers reading!

Writer's room (50% off for lifetime membership):

Membership for Just In Time Worlds:

Give us feedback at releasingyourinnerdragon(at)gmail(dot)com


Drake's Contact Details:
Starving Writer Studio:
Drake-U:  - Use RYID25 for 25% off!
Writer's Room:

Marie's contact details:
Just In Time Worlds:

So if you imagine your story to be a really crazy staircase going up a mountain right in the beginning, the steps are long right, you've got a little step up and then these long steps, you step up and you walk and you step up and you walk and you step up and you walk.

Right. The rising action star is when the step starts getting shorter, all right? And you start giving the reader more facts. So the steps start getting taller. It's a bigger step for the reader each time, and it starts getting shorter and shorter, the space in between until they get to the top and there's this itty bitty space and the step is this long and they just barely pull themselves up to the top of the mountain and they're ready for the climax.

That's where you want to get to.

You want it turns into a ladder.

It turns into a ladder.

Releasing your inner dragon.

Alright, Marie. Rising tension. What does that even mean?

So the best way I've heard rising tension described is from a friend of mine who read the first chapter of Acts three of the Duclair. And the comment he left for me at the bottom of it was like, I'm sorry, my hands in the air. The roller coaster is going up. It's like, Yes, yes, that is exactly where we are.

It is that moment where the whole plot comes together and builds up to the climax. It blows it’s top. The end is, you know, the climactic moment. This year, the theme is overcome. It's that slope.

That's funny, because to me, it actually starts at being the right one. Now it's much slower, but I feel like the whole thing. But you're right. It's definitely a what's that curve called in math logarithmic. Yeah. Where it really ramps up faster and faster and faster.

So the thing about Act two is Act two does this a little bit right? It does a kind of a it's going up all the time. Like, if you look at it over the whole course of Act two, it's going like that. But it's going up and down and up and down, up and down because the characters have setbacks, advantages and setbacks and advantages and so on and so forth.

And they learn things and they get trapped and they bump their heads and so on. But when you reach the the I guess the classic rising action moment, it's all just.

Certainly. Yeah. But, you know, you just I've never thought about this like this. One of the reasons I love doing our podcast is because it always we talk about things that I don't know. We just don't normally just sit down and think about. When you just said that, I was like, okay, well, wait a minute. Now that you're saying that there's a difference between tension and the emotional distance between the highs and the lows.

Yes. So I almost see those as two different lines. So for me, the tension is always tension doesn't ever go down in my stories. It's always on the upswing. It's just that sometimes where an emotional high, where the characters are winning and sometimes we're on an emotional low, where the character's losing, but that is still curving up with the tension line.

It's just the emotion is going back and forth between winning and losing and winning and losing and winning and losing.

But let me let me push back the first chapter of the beast. In your first.


In farmers and mercenaries.

Is a lot more tense then the chapter, which follows it, which is ardaries first chapter.


So you have a downturn in tension?

Yeah. Okay. So I can see that because that's the book as a whole.

Yes. Yes.

Not clean story. No, no. You got a strong. What's going to happen to look at him fight to. Hey, look, he won. But now I just got the crap beat out of him, too. Now, some weird thing has brought him to, like.

100% the carry book standpoint. But at a book standpoint, the line of tension goes up and down, depending on which POV you're in, because some POVs are slower moving than others.

Right. And that is.

That is the beauty of multiple POV. You can have the slower stories because the faster pincer stories do pull the lines through.

Yeah. Now, if you were to pull those stories out, the farm boy story does start and continue to get more and more and more tense. It's just that he starts much lower than where the line dude starts. Yeah, you're right on that. So, yeah, I guess. And this is why this is where it becomes really complex when you're talking about stories.

You know, a lot of people are writing single P.O.V. stories. So then it's going to be just like we talked about. You know what I threw out in the beginning? Multiple POVs can throw in some complexities that you just don't have to deal with, with the, you know, single P.O.V. even klains story.

So he has the big fight. He gets bored, he's got the crap beaten out of him. But after that, it like that is a bit of a climax and there is a doubt afterwards.

Dennis I am saying like.

Although, although I do cheat on that.

No, but it doesn't matter. There is. There is still a doubt.


Well, pre-deployment.

So you're right. In fact, in his first chapter in act two it's just him getting used to it. It's really him kind of. Yeah, that's right. That's why I basically catches up to the farm boy. So now he's just waking up in a safe environment. But I know that I have.

I've read that chapter, and I know that there's a downturn of tension because I read it.

Right. I know. But I do cheat a little bit because I make the reader think that he's hunting this little four year old girl for food.

I didn't fall for that. But yeah.

But but yes, it is where the story's where Klains story is more equal to ardaries story at the beginning of ardaries story, because now he's in a safer environment. He's more you know, it's no longer this. Yeah.

But my point is that all of that, right? It's. It's all a little bit up. Of course, you must maintain a line of tension. The end of your chapter must hook the reader through. The beginning of your chapter. Must convince the reader to read what you don't want unless you're writing a really, really tense mystery. I guess you're not going to want the reader literally, like, biting their fingernails off in every single chapter.

You want them interested in reading the chapter, but not literally biting their fingernails off, because that would be a very exhausting read, especially over like 200,000 words and the reader probably won't read you again.

It's also not realistic. I mean, we have times in our lives where things get really tense. We have times in our lives where it's less tense. We just always have to remember. And I think this is where a lot of writers miss when they plateau or they say, you know, they're like, Well, I want to take a break from tension.

They literally take a break from tension and they just stop writing drama. No no no, don't do that. Right. It still needs to be drama filled. It just doesn't have to be. The plane is going down and we're about to hit the mountain. And there's only one parachute for three of us. Yes. It could be, you know, whatever.

You know, Now I'm having family issues and I really need to kind of work through this this moment. After I saved myself from the plane and saved all of us from that. Now, there's it's still drama and tension. It's just definitely not crashing into the side of a mountain. Drama and tension.

Like, there is a difference between life threatening drama and emotionally threatening drama. Both of them have tension, but the one is more intense than the other.

Right. And I think that's where a lot of writers miss when they get to their plateaus. And they they call that the sagging middle because they're like, well, let me just now do just day in the life, you know, just normal, no drama and give the reader time to take it. No, no, no, no, no, no. Yeah.

So I want to talk about that. That's sagging in the middle or muddle in the middle or whatever they want to call it. Where it feels. So the character is just spinning, spinning, spinning, spinning. And the plot is not moving forward. This unless you're writing cozy fantasy or slice of life fantasy, I guess. And in which case I'm not your target audience.

So I mean, but but except in those genres, that kind of thing has no place in a book get because what you're basically doing is you are trying to show the character having challenges without the character having challenges. Right. Right. Because you're going to get to an end plot at some point, but you're going to show all of these failures, or at least you think you're showing this fight, but you're not showing the character actually interacting with the plot.

They're literally just interacting with their life. And that is not as interesting as you think it is.

Yeah. And I've told this story before about how I had that beta reader who loves the ardarie character, who read the rewrite and love the chapter and remember that it took her time to really love it in the same chapter. But that is the difference in both chapters. It's a farm boy who wakes up, goes downstairs, eat breakfast, and then goes off the farm like both of them.

They're they're exactly the same as far as the events and one, you know, that I wrote back in probably 2005 or 2004 I just wrote it as this slice of life literally is was a chapter of just the farm boy waking up, going upstairs, eating breakfast, going off to work, and then in the rewrite, now that I understand what to do and in situations like that where the external side is is very mundane, you have to make the internal side, not mundane.

You have to find the drama from somewhere. And so now the chapter is very gripping and exciting because the fact that there's an internal drama and it's just family drama, it's not you know, there's no there's no existential crisis. I mean, there is to him because he's like, they're going to marry me off and I don't want to do this.

And my goodness, like there's all that teenage angst, but there's nothing like everyone who's reading it that's an adult. It can be like, Yes, I got a kid that's literally called life. Like, we all went through that. So, I mean, maybe not, you know, arranged marriages, but, you know, we all went through that whole teenage angst. But so it's not earth shattering drama by any stretch of the imagination.

But it's it's enough. And, you know, also going to your point before, it was also done on purpose, because I did just have this very tense, very dark scene. And I wanted now to give the reader a little light before the next chapter, which is really blood and gore. So it's also that, you know, moment. But again, my original idea was, I want the light between these two dark chapters.

So I just it's a slice of life. I just wasn't as strong as strong of a writer back then as I am now. And so the chapter is just that it's that's it's the sagging middle. But in his first act. Yeah. As opposed to what it is now where it's like, I like this guy. This is interesting what's going to happen to him?

And there's the same chapter.

The way to prevent that sagging middle is every chapter that you write, every scene that you write, think about. What information are you giving the reader? Okay, what is the reader supposed to learn from this scene? Yeah. And here's the thing. I mean, we've spoken before about the elements of a scene, and those elements are important. The hook at the end, the hook at the start, the the conflict.

All of that is important. But all of it's meaningless without knowing what you want the reader to learn from the scene. Because what you want the reader to learn from the scene is what drives the plot forward. Now, maybe the scene is just there to teach the reader about the character or about the magic. That's fine okay. Ideally, that should be in your earlier chapters before the rising tension so that you're not teaching the reader about the world during the rising tension.

But it's fine to teach the reader that at the beginning. All right. But towards the middle, towards Act two, once you've passed the middle of Act two, it should all be plot, plot, plot, plot, plot stuff. Every chapter, every scene. The reader should be learning something about the plot, even if it's one fact. They must learn a thing.

But I want to I want to I want to jump on you because I actually made another huge mistake in the original version. And it had actually carried over into the rewrite because, again, a writer is very close to their own works. You can't always see your own mistakes and you actually fixed what you just recommended to do.

So if they just go off what you just recommended, they would do what I did. So the first of a lot chapter in my mind, I'm like, okay, I just need a chapter that teaches the reader how magic work. Since work is very, very different from any other magic, it's not even described as magic. Matter of fact, several times in the book I have lines where you know, somebody who isn't a maid will say something and the other the maids would be like, This isn't magic.

What are you talking about? Like, this is. I'm just doing this science like it's very science driven as opposed to it, But it's hundreds of magic, like. But to them, they still have the term magic. But that would be like a street magician that's doing illusions and making you think that a card disappeared or something like that that exists in this world.

And that's magic. What they do is melding the essence, which is a type of science, even though it literally is magic. So in the last chapter originally, it's just that I knew what I wanted to do in that chapter was teach the reader magic. And I did. And then when I did the rewrite, I basically was like, well I'm still doing that.

And so I did that and nobody had a problem with it. Nobody had a problem with it. When it won awards originally, no one had a problem with the rewrite until you got a hold of it and you were like, You know, this is the weakest chapter in Act One. I'm like, I know, but I'm teaching magic. And so, you know, I'm cool with it.

And you're like, I don't know why you're cool. This goes against everything. You're preaching. I'm like, Well, what do you mean? And you're like, It doesn't have any conflict. And I'm like, sob. Like, you're so right that it doesn't have any conflict. And it's so easy. Like, once that was shown, it's like, well, here's like and it was completely made up.

It was kind of there a little bit, but it wasn't actually there, and it was just a conflict of we knew that he was taking a final exam to get the final approval from his final teacher to sign off on him going to this special school in another country. And so I just was like, It's already there. So now it's just him going, This jerks going to fail me.

This jerks going to keep me here. This jerks going to stop me from doing this thing that I really want to do. It's all him. He's the jerk. And you know, it's dumb. It's it's a couple extra lines throughout the entire thing. But now the chapter is so much more engaging. So don't just so. So don't just follow Maria's rules where she said, we just got to know what you're trying to do, and it's fine.

It is. But again, I said something earlier. I remember I said before, and I think I'll start using this as as a kind of a teaching tool, either have an external conflict or an internal conflict. So if there is no external conflict, so you're waking up and going eat breakfast, you're teaching the reader magic, do whatever, then you have to have an internal conflict.

You have to have it.

So I split. The two things are are so what is the purpose and what is its purpose with regards to the plot? And bear in mind that the world and the character are very much part of the plot, because if the reader doesn't understand those two things, they will not understand the rising action.


So I spit the purpose. But then are also. Then I go, okay, now I know what the thing's supposed to achieve. Now how am I going to make it achieve it in a way that is engaging to the reader? So what is my hope? What is my conflict? What is my overcome? What is my hook at the end?

Yep. Yeah. Because that was, you know, again, it doesn't matter how long you do the stuff. It didn't how long that you write, it doesn't matter how long you teach it. You're you still are too close to your own stuff. I mean, we both do it to each other. Well, we'll sit down and go, okay, I'm having this issue and we've both done it both ways where, like, I can remember the last thing we talked about, but you start talking about, you know, okay, this is what I'm struggling with.

And it was because it was something with your next series and it was so obvious to me and literally and like you were like, okay, let's spend an hour or two doing this. And like 5 minutes into it, I'm like, Well, here's your solution. You're like, Well, son of a bitch. Like, that is exactly what I do like.

And it's not. And, you know, it's not that I'm any smarter than you, because literally you fix the exact same things for me. It's just that you, you know, we all just we're so close to that idea and that those characters and that world and everything else, that you just have that outside viewpoint that somebody must go, I can't believe you're not seeing that.

But then again, it's so stupid to say, I can't believe you're not saying this because like 5 minutes ago you looked at me and went, I can't believe you're not seeing this. Yeah, actually, one day you should realize. right. I can't see it because I'm too close.

Duplass smoke.

So yeah, it's but the interesting.

To get back to rising action. I guess we've spoken about what is rising action. How does rising action set the reader up for the climax?

Well, and again, this is where we differ a little bit on that, because I see I'm going to place things in Act one. And actually this is something you said I'm going to steal it because you said you stolen things that I've said before, but I really love the way you describe this for the climax to be really impactful, it needs to tie back to at least three things that have happened in the past.

You know, three things that set it up that now the reader is like, now I understand why I went through X and Y and Z, because all of those things were instrumental points in my growth or knowledge or accumulation of a, you know, a magic sword or a droid or whatever, to make sure that I had the knowledge and tools and just wherewithal to accomplish this overcome.

And so that was a really good kind of point. And that's you know, we talk about this all the time, how important it is to learn structure, and that's where that comes in.

But if we look at starwars, which, you know, we spoke about Star Wars, this call to action, and they're the the point of no return. If we look at Star Wars and it's back to the reason why we have faith, when Obi-Wan tells Luke, you know, trust the force, Luke is because Luke went through that moment with that stupid little zappy ball where the zappy ball shows him to trust the force and not his eyes.

Like Obi-Wan puts a blindfold on him. It's an entire call back scene.

But it's also a dichotomy because he fails. He fails in that one.

He he succeeds. Once he failed a bunch of times, but once he almost makes and he sees.

What he fails in, he doesn't believe it's he doesn't believe.

You, but he starts to think about it. It starts to crack the armor. And then, of course, the final moment of faith is when he switches off his targeting computer and trust the force here. As you break the bad guys.

Right? Exactly. It's something we've never talked about here, but I've always thought that was a weird it works, obviously, because Star Wars works. But when we look at the normal mentor role of a character, we're getting a little off of tension. But but normally the mentor comes in and says, Look, this is how you do it. And then they try and they fail.

And then whatever they fail that like in this case, Luke believing he now has to succeed when all is on the line. Like you fail now. And this is a training exercise. But in almost every other case where you see that mentor relationship, the mentor will then succeed. So like, look at Yoda in the same series where Lucas like, I can't do this, it's too hard.

And Yoda is like, really? And he just lifts up the spaceship. Like, That is why you failed. Right exactly. They, they don't do that in a new hope, like they do the whole ball and then literally Obi-wan is murdered and it's like he fails it. It's like or failed at everything. You saw him do you remember?

His fight with Darth Vader is horrifying. It's like the weakest sword fight ever because they didn't have the CGI to make it real.

Right? And they were dealing with grass rods So it's not like you can smack those puppies together. But I'm just saying from a from a story standpoint, like I'm this farm boy and I get this mentor, he tells me something. And then the first time I see him actually trying to use it, he just dies.

What about like, he does? He does do. These are not the droids you're looking for. I mean, that is that is the famous line, right?

It is. But that's not.

It's not fighting.

But it is something it is something you are correct. But still, it's just funny to me. And I've never really even talked to anybody about that. That's something I've always just kind of sat on that I thought was funny. Because when you look at any other mentor story, the mentor like again, just the Yoda one where he's trying to lift his X-Wing out of the money.

So heavy, it's too big, I can't do it. He's like, Really? And then you just go on and lift it up and he's like, It's not the size, dude. It's you. You're the problem. Like, they don't do that in a new hope, which I always thought was hilarious. There's never a time where the mentor actually, other than, Yeah, okay, I'll give you the these aren't the droids.

You’re looking for.

As lines go to hand the fight of the universe of to hang the fact that the galaxy of these are not the droids you're looking for is kind of like the.

Especially when you know again the next scene we see, I mean you just get slaughtered by the bad guys anyway, so for me to get back on to this for me, it is that I'm going to want to drop in those things. And those are the big things that I think about. And again, our styles are a little different.

You plot less than I do and that's fine. There is no right or wrong way to do it. There's a wrong way for you to do it, but there's no right or wrong way for the world to do it. So but that's even still, I think you look for a lot of those bigger moments to just to make sure that you kind of know where they're going.

So this I don't know anybody who truly purely pances exactly once. now I know that that's Stephen King says he does. I have no idea. I don't live in his head. So I don't I know, for example, Neil Gaiman will write the whole book and then throw it away and write it again, which is why Neil Gaiman's books always make sense, right?

But the way that I pance is I have a kind of a a a riverbed, let's say. I know roughly where the river is go. I have a clear destination in mind, and I know more or less where the bends are, but I don't plot the whole thing because doing that to me traps me in like a never ending cycle of plotting.

And it doesn't get me into the mindset I need to be in to have the great creative moments. And that's the big thing. You have to find out where you create of mind is free.


Mine is free when I have a rough outline and I then start, right?

Right. Then you also have the world.

Yes. I also have to.

Develop your world way more than I develop my more. I definitely pance my world. Yeah, way more than you do.

So I do do a fair chunk of worldbuilding. And that does help me a lot because that puts a lot of the magic moments in place early, early, early on in my mind.


And that frees my creativity, right? But everybody's got to find their own process. So my creativity is at its best when I've got a framework and that's my world and my basic outline and I then write right? And in the writing, the magic comes.

And for me it's I have a little bit more of the plotting. So I do need just like you, I want the riverbank and I want to, you know, kind of know where the bends are. But I also want to know the major cities along the way where we're going to be stopping, you know, the the the actual camping locations.

So just a little bit more not not too much more, but still still a little bit more. The funny thing is, is when I'm teaching plotting, I teach it the way I used to do it, which is my chapter breakdown sheet. I actually don't do it that way anymore. You know, I'm much more of a pancer now because you just get the more skilled you get with structure and theory, the easier it is to do this stuff.

However, I still use the chapter breakdown sheets. I just use them now after I write the first draft of the chapter, because then that gives me the beautiful thing about my chapter breakdown sheets is it forces me to take a step back and look at the technicals, what are the thematic elements And I'm playing with what are the open ended questions?

And I'm forcing the reader to contemplate what are my reversals. You know, have I accomplished the tension of the scene? Did I prove the theme right or wrong? You know, it's all those technicals that you don't think about when you're in writing mode. And so now instead of like before, where I would write a chapter breakdown sheet for every single chapter, now I have a synopsis, you know, one or two lines or whatever for every single sentence or an idea, even like this chapter that I'm writing right now, I just had an idea.

I just know when I kind of want it to do, and I just wrote it. But then when I finished, I pull out the chapter breakdown sheet. I made a chapter breakdown sheet on it so I could look at the technicals on. Did I actually do the technical side of writing that's going to make this? It's going to take this to the next level.

And you should consider that for every single chapter that you finished, whether you're a pancer or a plotter, you should look at that chapter and see if it achieves its goal. And maybe the reason why I've never had to do the kind of formalized breakdown of a chapter is because of my software development background. So in software development, we have this process called Agile, and in Agile you're like, okay, this is what I want the piece of code to achieve, and you write it and then you test that against that achievement.

And I've always approached writing in kind of the same way. This is what I want the chapter to achieve. Has it done? Has it achieved its thing? And then as I've improved as a writer, I've added more things to my definition of done for the chapter. But that's all it's been a pattern of 20 years of professional life, you know, it just naturally.

And I think you skipped an important part to to even say, How do you test it? Beta readers. Yes, you get critiques because you so I don't want somebody think of, I can write it and then I can read it and I can decide whether I did it or not. Literally, we just talked about the fact you are too close to it.

You must get other people to tell you whether you succeed or not. You do your best, but you can't decide whether you've succeeded. That is not in your that's not in your skill set to decide whether you've succeeded in your story or not. You must turn that over to others. And as no will tell you, whether you succeeded or not.

There's not a single writer on the face of the planet. I don't care if it's Stephen King or the first writer who's put their their word today onto chapter one of their very first book. You need other people's opinions. You cannot judge your own work. You will never be able to see the problem. Now you might be able to see some of the problem, but you will never be able to see the full problem now.

Yeah, I mean, it's just, you know, again, we talked about that too.

Much is in your head and not enough. And it's always going to be that you cannot.


Literally cannot be done.

So that you try and get it back too. I have a guest coming to try to give it back to the whole tension discussion. That's what I'm looking for. Here's the difference. So one of the questions that I get asked all the time, that always just makes me terrified to answer and it happens a lot like in the writers room or whatever.

They'll go, okay, but why did you make the decision at that moment to have the character do that thing or the, you know, the world to do this thing against him or whatever? You know, you obviously thought about that ahead of time. I'm like, Yeah, no, no, I didn't not miss.

I said. And that's the thing. That's some things we would have. Like if I think back of magic for book one, right? Some things we thought of ahead of time. We knew that at the end of the book we wanted Buri to use a canister of urine to blow up the red bellied beast because that is a sacrifice on her part.

It's her taking a conscious choice of accepting her life in this way. And we knew that we wanted Lyron to be in a position where he has to see Buri as an equal, because that is the overcome of his theme, because he's been seeing her as a lesser, because of her her race, her skin color. So that whole arc had to be in.

And we knew that at the big level.

But the cool.

Stuff like producing a mech ghoul out of the pod right at the end that we had no plan. Why did that come in? It came in because I was staring at, like, this pod and thinking, Now I wonder I need something for them to fight. That is not the way I and I mean a make ghoul, a half zombie, half half metallic thing.

It's just perfect. And I have the technology right there. It's all part of this adaption process. It's a cyberpunk ish kind of world. It fits this genre. I was like golden.

Yeah, yeah, yeah. And so many things happen on the fly and stream of consciousness, but I think it happens. I think the more you know where you're going, the more you understand your story, your characters, your world, the easier and more creative you can be in the moment in that stream of consciousness mode. And it doesn't. And the things you create don't break your story because you you have this innate.

But I know I have to get here and so I can't do I don't know why this popped in my head, but I think with season two of Fargo, the really trippy kind of it's set up in Minnesota, like right up on the Canadian border and it's a bunch of, you know, that type of hick. So it's a different type of hick that I grew up with down South, but still a hit.

And it's every one of them in the movie included was always about a stupid criminal trying to get away with something and doing stupid things constantly that ended up basically getting them killed. It everybody dies, Everybody dies. It's just the way it is in those and the television show and everything like that. But I stopped watching at the end of season two, I think it was, and it might have been season three, but I think it was season two because they're at the motel and they've been doing stupid things and they're trying to get away with burying, you know, they murdered this person and now they're trying to chop the body up and bury whatever

it was. And they're making all sorts of the wrong decisions. And they're in a motel and a UFO comes and floats above the motel for a minute, and then it leaves. And I'm like, What's what's what is this like? Where does this come from? Now, I don't know if they tied it in later, but it was so out of the story.

Like, the story is about Monroe. It's set in like the eighties, so it's the eighties and they've got a lot of eighties tropes and everything like that. But it's just gangsters. It's just dumb gangsters and mostly dumb policemen, and they're kind of both doing dumb things. And a lot of people die because of stupidity. That's the story. It's just that's, that's all it is.

And then aliens show up from another planet and you're like, I don't even. And they just they hover there and then they leave. The people see them, and then they leave. And I'm just like, I'm out. I don't I don't know what to do with this. I love sci fi. I don't what. And so I think I think if you know your story, you're not going, you know, No aliens are going to show up in Sangwheele Chronicles, I'm pretty sure.

No, no.

So it's like, you know, where you're going. So you have the riverbank. I love the way you describe that. You have the riverbank that's going to keep you keep the waters of the story contained in this area, in this direction. Yeah. As opposed to that.

So in the world building book that I'm busy writing, I describe it as, you have to understand the North star of your story. You have to understand the story you're telling the audience, you're telling it for the basics of your world and the basics of your characters, because that will ground your story, whatever you invent from there onward, you've got it.

It's got to still fit within the parameters of those that North Star and that way you don't get into that muddle in the middle, right where you're randomly inventing crap and it no longer fits.


Because everything you know, it's like layers of the onion, like Shrek. Sure. But it's all onion layers. You don't randomly add a green paper layer in the middle.

Or an apple layer.

Or an apple or whatever. Like, apple is so great, but they have no on an onion.

And to bring it back to tension, that's exactly that's my answer to that question. It's like, why did you choose to have that happened to this character at that moment? And it's because when I was in stream of consciousness, what I'm in the moment when I am improvise writing because I'm I'm an improv writer, I consider myself a method writer.

So I'm in the moment. I become the character. I'm in the world because I knew where it was going. This idea germinated and went, my goodness, this would have great impact where I'm going. I had no idea what's going to happen until it happened, but because I know where I'm going, because I know the banks, because I know the limitations of where I want to stay within this idea has now come easier to me because of what I know as opposed to if I just sat down and just, you know, randomly made stuff up with No, these ideas where I'm going.

These ideas don't come from nowhere, right? So even even the conversation that we had about the second series of Sangwheele where you were like, This is what you should.

Write, right?

That I put in front of you. This is the setup. This is like, what is going on? This is what I want to achieve. And then you were like, Didn't you say that this thing had happened before? And I was like, yes, in this in this way you were like, Will there do that?

Right, Right, exactly.

Because there is a thing in my world that already sets up what I want to do. I just it kind of kind of forgot about it. But the point is, it.

Exists and.

These things are much like our world, You know, In our world. That's right. And I mean, this does not mean you are not responsible for your actions. Please don't take my words out of context, but there is no such thing really as free will, because every decision that you make is the predicate of your life. Right? You act.

You probably couldn't choose anything else because basically it's all like one layer on top of the other layer on top of the other layer. By the time you get to the point where you stabbing someone in the eye, you know, it's almost inevitable. Right? And if we now the thing is, there's too many variables for us. And I do.

Want to say I do want to say the views of Marie do not reflect necessarily the views of releasing your inner dragon or Maxwell Alexander Drake, right. They are her views alone in person, just like my views are mine.

But the point is, if we could understand all of those variables, we could accurately predict the outcome. Not only you can't understand all of those variables. There’s too many.


But the same is in your story, the creative moment has come because of all those variables that give birth to the great moment.

Yeah, but.

The difference between real life and the story is all of those variables are in your control. If you want the characters to make this decision at this moment, if you want the plot to make the stakes decision at this moment, you can go back and put in the variables that will create the circumstances where the decision point happens.

So I say all the time, genius isn't written, it's edited. Exactly. So you get to the end of the story and realize, if I had done this thing, then this would be so much more impactful. Well, in real life, you can't go back in time and do that thing. When you're writing a story, you easily can just open that chapter up and that thing maybe added a couple more times and a couple other chapters and then it's just been there from the beginning as if it always existed.

Exactly. There's a historical story that I really, really love, just for the irony of it. And it comes from your your war of independence against the British. Do you know who the marquee Lafayette was?


Yeah. So marquee Lafayette was in America leading some troops and so on. And he was getting ready for a battle against a British general. And the British general was the same general who had led the army against the marquee Lafayette's father, and killed him. But Lafayette didn't know that yet. Historians know. But Lafayette. And that battle never took place because the general was recalled to Britain with his army the next day before they actually could initiate combat.

And I was just like, Now, if you were writing a story, that's not the way that would have turned out.

No, because I mean, everyone loves a good revenge story.

it's yes. But that would have been a great rising tension, the way that history turned out. That was a very, very, very abortive moment. And as a reader, I am very disappointed in history. Where was my climax.

Or at least have them meet and it become a stalemate. So we can now have this ongoing, you know, antagonist really? Yeah. Come on. History. You got to be better at this whole writing thing. What are you thinking? But then again, some things happened in history where you're like, If I wrote that, everyone would say that I'm being an idiot because that's completely unrealistic.

You'd be like, What is this right? If Maxwell was around, I would bring him in. He's my resident historian, so he can give that. Well, I mean, I don't know. I don't know the exact, you know, steps like he does. But I do know the start of World War Two is this weird World.

War one.

Over one.

Is ridiculous. So it's one that the Black Hand was planning to assassinate Archduke Ferdinand, and they failed.


Okay. They they they didn't. I can't remember if they planned the wrong route or whatever the case is, but they failed. And so then he got back in the car and he was like, he's going to go visit the hospital and he's run out of petrol or something.

It's even funnier than that. It just because.

It's a whole series of ridiculous events.

But this is this is like, you know, you would see the guy who was actually able to.

Succeed was drinking coffee.

Well, he quit. He actually didn't take the shot.

He didn't like the shot. You was sitting in a cafe drinking coffee. He was depressed. And then the Archduke's car.


Or the convoy stopped or whatever, right outside the coffee shop. And he just walked out the coffee shop, walked up to the Archduke's car and shot him in the head.


And that kicked off World War One.

It's ridiculous. So he had the shot. He chose not to take it because he didn't want to do it. He chickened out. Whatever. He left everyone else. You know, they had a bunch of agents that were there trying to do it. They all failed. He gets away and then, yeah, when they're completely out of the danger zone, his car just stops right in front of the guy who had quit and was now kicking himself for being a coward or whatever, you know, being traitor or whatever.

And he's like, well, there is. And he walks up and shoots him. No,

It's it's absurd. It's an absurd story.

And you write that and everyone's like, Well, this is completely unbelievable. This is just dumb.

Six years of war. But I will also say that again, yes, that kicked off the war, but the the two camps that participated in that war were looking for a reason.

certainly. But I wasn't getting it. I was just saying that the the.

Rising tension leading into World War One is steep. When that goes off it, it's like a powder keg.

Yeah. Yeah, it is

inevitable that something would have happened. And you should look at your rising tension in the same way. By the time the rising tension hits the climax point, it should be inevitable that there will be an ignition point. Something is going to give. Everything in here is like a volcano that to the top is about to blow the shots, about to go through the through the archduke's head.

Which is why And with me and you have both seen it and we still do not understand it. And it doesn't happen very often, but it's why for those few authors out here who who out there who think that this is a great idea and is, you know, going to make you $1,000,000, you cannot build that volcano and then go, and then it doesn't go off because of this, you know, because aliens showed up and hovered above the motel.

Like, I know you think that's a good idea. I did it. It never works.

I'm a cool back to that marquee Lafyette moment. It it's ironic, but it certainly is not a great story.

Right? Right. And and like I said, it doesn't happen often, but there is a handful of writers out there that have gotten that idea and gone, no one's ever done this. Yeah, no, a lot of people have done it. They just are not successful. So you never heard about them?

Yeah. I'm going to subvert your expectations.

Yeah. No, I'm going to build you up down this path, and then I'm not going to give it to you. Yeah, it's sort of like when you.

Pay off, you better pay something off.

Then when. When the publisher went out of business originally with Genesis and, you know, I still hadn't found a home for it and decided I was going to do or whatever, I would have a few fans, you know, year after year when I'd be out at a convention or whatever that would really help me about it. And if I was in a really devious, impish mood, I would just say, Look, I here's how it ends.

The two brothers wake up, they take off virtual VR goggles and they go, Wow, I can't believe you made those decisions in that video game. And the look of horror on the reader on the fans face was priceless because they were like, you're not you're not actually going to do that To know what it was. It was awesome.

I didn't do it often. But, you know, if it was somebody that I felt comfortable with or whatever, I'd say, yeah, no, they're just playing a video game. The characters are actually just in our world and they're playing a video game and obviously I would never actually do that. Yeah, but and for no other reason than just you just get the look of horror on their face and you realize, wow, this is going to go off like a sack of wet you know?

But the thing.

Is, people think that it would be clever. Like the reader will go, that was clever, you know, because you've just made the reader feel like an ass.


Right. You have built a story where the reader fell in love with these characters. The reader has gone through trials and tribulations with these characters. The reader is ready for the action to rise. And when you get to the peak of the action, the reader is ready for the climax to hit. And if you now completely subvert their expectations and why do they feel so angry?

Because you have made them feel like an ass for having an expectation which is not met. They're like, Was I stupid to not see this?

Yeah. Yeah. I caught the phenomenon. Yeah. And it's after the movie phenomenon, which is funny because John Travolta has two of these movies where nothing happens. So in phenomenon, you have this guy that's not very bright. He gets hit in the head by a light beam from space and knows everything. Literally knows everything. There's nothing he doesn't know.

What does he do with that? He gets a girlfriend and then dies and nothing changes like nothing. It might as well have not even happened. And michael is this other one that does the same thing where the angel he plays, the Archangel Michael that comes down. He's got all of this ability to make this massive impact and at the end of it he decides to do nothing.

And so nothing changes. So in both of them, you have this huge expectation of, my goodness, this ex janitor who is now this not just the smartest man on the planet, because that's being the smartest man. Look, man, there's one thing he's not just this morning. He actually knows everything. So you're like, why does gravity work? it works because of this.

Like, this is it or whatever. It doesn't matter. Things that we have that none of the smartest people on the planet know. Yeah. Knows. Because he has the information. He doesn't just have the ability to learn the information. He already has the information. And so they build this whole thing up of, he's going to save humanity from humanity self, like he's going to do this.

Amazing. Because he's like the everyman person and very well grounded and, you know, common sense kind of thing. And. And then nothing. No, he just dies and it's like, I hate that so much.

I can sometimes get behind those kinds of stories depending on the thematic message. So it could be like I haven't actually seen phenomena and I can't remember. Michael So I, I can't speak authoritatively, but it could be that the purpose or the thematic element was to show that no one individual can save humanity. There is no such thing as superheroes.

We are our fate lies with us as a group.

So that would be a great story. I am. So has people heard me say I divide everything Free Drake and post Drake. I watch both those movies Pre Drake and they pissed me off. So God only knows what they're going to do to post Drake. I don't think that they did that. Yeah. Now again, Free Drake didn't understand themes and wasn't thinking story structure and and all of that stuff.

I mean, I was there was Brie Drake, but it still pissed me off, like, so much so that I still tell this tale of how best I was at Phenomenon. Yeah. So I don't think that it had.

That 100%. I'm just saying like that, that I mean, I could tell that a story. But the point is it depends on how you build it up. It depends on your writing action. If you're rising, action is going to be the thematic climax of actually, no one individual can save humanity but you. It has to be like, we are a group, we're a social animal.

We have to work together to save ourselves. Then you're rising. Action should reflect that. Yep, your rising action should be the character. This superintelligent character, trying all these things to fix it and everything just keeps like getting more and more out of control because he's not involving people.


I think like and it's been a minute since I've read Watchmen, but that was that was sort of one of the minor themes in Watchmen with Dr. Manhattan.

Yeah. Is why he leaves.


Yeah he just like I'm going to do more damage than good.

Yeah because you like and that that has been a great thematic element and that builds into the rising action, right? So you're rising action must work with your theme, it must work with your plot and it must build of your act one. And as you're rising, action gets more and more intense. As the curve gets steeper and steeper and steeper every chapter should give the reader more and more and more facts right at the beginning of your rising action.

Maybe each chapter just gives the reader one fact and everything else is just fluff as the characters bumbling around trying to figure stuff out and so on. But the reason why books get into a muddle sometimes here is because they give the reader no facts in the chapter. Don't do that. Don't give the reader nothing. And I know we joke about it, but then don't do that.

Give the reader at least one thing that contributes to the plot.


And then. And then more and more and more towards the end, because that will give the reader the impression of speed. It will feel as though everything's speeding up. And then when they're like at the top and they have all the facts of the roller coaster and it's just all the way down, you know, now we're hitting that vertical slope.

They feel as though they've earned it. They've risen all the way to the top.

Yeah. And what you just said, there is a great way to talk about breadcrumbs, because we can give a fact where the character, the POV character, doesn't is interprets it incorrectly. So the information is there. If the reader goes along with the P.O.V., then they also are interpreting it incorrectly. And then like, it's so funny, the little short story, the novella.

Martin Right now something happens where he's like, I think I was just in the presence of a God. I don't believe in the gods. I'm going to think about that. And so I leave the reader with that. And then in his next chapter, he goes, I figured it out. It wasn't that, it was this Everybody. A beta reader so far has gone.

Yeah, No, that was good, you know, 100%. And I'm thinking to myself, if I ever have a character, explain to you what they think happened. It didn't happen that way, but that should just be your clue. But everybody was like, no, no, I believe that that's yeah, that's a very logical 100%. That's what happened. Yeah. Right there with the character.

I haven't read chapter two, but I read chapter one and I remember leaving comments and they're going like this dude is not an atheist, This dudes not an atheist. This dudes not an athiest because I was like, I'm an atheist and this is not how you think about God. Not once you what You're over the the nervous point of atheists and the point where you're like, do I don't I believe you.

But the difference is.

They say, would you like to.

Not be you would not be the atheist that you are today in, you know, 1200.

You're not maybe. No, no, no, I agree. But I mean, the thing is like,

Goodness. In a world that is very religious. So he is atheist, too, that I.

I was in a I was in a world that is extreme, that was extremely religious.

I grew up in a family that was no, no, no, no, no.

The whole like, the environment was the religion, everybody. But it was the default setting.


Okay. But, but there was a point in my life where I was, and that's kind of where I saw him. You're like, do I don't. I do. I don't. I do. I don't.


It's and that was why I left those comments, because I'm like, he's not really. And it's not yet.

Like, right. Well, I don't use the term he he doesn't call himself an atheist. Yeah. I use terms like I don't believe in such superstitions. It's like.

Yeah, 100%. Yeah. But yeah, but you know, it's a there's a, there's a point where you're just you actually just don't think about it anymore here like there is.

It's like. Exactly. But this world is so religious. Yeah. Because the gods technically are in the world and real and physical and everything else. So it's kind of hard. It's sort of like in Theme Valley, the religion that I have in that world is the Church of atheism, because I think it's hilarious because you can literally sit down and have lunch with a God.

Like literally you don't have to. There's no faith needed there, there, right there. You just go chat with them. And yet the big religion is gods are real. They're not real. They're not That's not those aren't real. They’re charlatans somehow.

And somehow so this difference in a world where the gods are real, I draw a distinction between worshiping the gods and believing in the gods.


And I will then call a group atheist. Not necessarily in the world because the word might not exist right. But in my head I will call them atheist because they don't worship the gods. And that's the distinction I then rule.

Okay, well then, yeah, by that definition, colitis is definitely an atheist. Yeah, because he's definitely not worshiping. Yeah. I mean, even when you meet him in the main novel because this novella takes place 20 years prior. So he's 19 When you meet him when he's 39, he still has the same kind of opinions because, you know, in that first chapter in the actual novel where he's talking about his son and he's like, If a God could actually do it, I would attend prayers every day with my wife every day.

And then that that one lets the audience know, his wife attends prayers every day. So she's definitely religion. And then there's another chapter deep on when he's leaving that she presses a religious talisman into his palm and he's like, you know, of course he takes it, puts it on his neck, but he doesn't do it for the religion.

He does it for the wife. Yeah. And so.

Yeah, yeah. I mean, religion is a it's an interesting topic to discuss, but we're we're getting a little bit of.


Well so back back to our rising tension. Let's talk about the consequences of weak rising action.

I think we have a lot of a lot of that that we've already discussed. All right. It it doesn't fulfill the readers expectations. It pisses them off. It it it isn't a satisfying story.

It also doesn't lifted higher. Right. That's part of the problem is sometimes people have like little delicate rising actions and they don't lift the reader high enough for them to feel a real climax.


And then, of course, there's lifting the reader up and setting everything up. And then instead of dropping them down a slope, you just.

The. Yeah.

Is on the clock.

I mean, it'd be silly to write a story where this guy doesn't believe in the gods, but he gets hired by the gods to become the sacrifice for the gods to save them. And then he goes on this big journey to really believe in himself and to believe in the gods cause and. And realize that he does need to die for the gods and then agree to that and accept that and then show up.

And all the gods are already dead because some third there's some tertiary characters already killed the gods. So he doesn't have to like that would be that would be really dumb to write a story like that where you had an ending that a tertiary character does the overcome before the main character even gets there. For those who don't know, I'm Picking on American Gods by Neil Gaiman, which has no frickin ending like it is so frustrating to do that to an audience and that spoiler.

That's literally the way the book ends. He shows up and the climax is done before he got there because a tertiary character that you've seen like four times in the novel just decides to kill all the bad guys and so that the main character doesn't have to. Very frustrating, very, very, very weak. And to quote you, meh, yeah it's it's again, people get these ideas.

Yeah. Even people like Neil Gaiman get these ideas that, this is God is so great. It's not, it's not great. It's bad.

Yeah, it's it's really frustrating when you've been built up for a climax, you think you're expecting this thing and then left field comes and it leaves you feeling like, But where did this come from? Why did this happen? I was like, dumb for not seeing it. Nobody likes being mad. Feel like they're dumb. Like, you know, it's not fun.

No, I don't feel like I'm dumb that I didn't see it. I feel like I'm dumb that I was gullible enough to read it. Yeah. I'm not mad that I'm not mad at Neil Gaiman in American Gods that I didn't see it coming. I'm mad that I even started the book.


Like you tricked me. And this is not where I wanted to go. Yeah, So, yeah, it's just. It doesn't work. Now, of course I'm saying that and the audience can be like, Yeah, American guys have sold more books than you have ever sold. Yeah. My. Okay. Yeah. So that ending doesn't sound so. Yeah, it's tension is important. Tension.

It needs to start. It needs to build. Every scene needs to have it. You either need to have an external conflict or an internal conflict. You need to have drama. That's what we're here for. One of the things you said, it's a little off topic, but one of the things you said that also ties into that is the graying out of characters where the heroes are just basically neutral and the villains are basically neutral.

And I think that is also hurting sci fi and fantasy and superheroes because we need we need someone so good that we look up to them and we need someone so bad that we want to hate them. Like we need that dichotomy so that we have because it's drama, it's not real life. Yes, in real life, villains are pretty much the same as heroes.

They're they have their flaws. They have their good points, you know, and everything like that. I'm not going into a fantasy story to read about real life. I can turn on CNN or Fox or ABC and and get those stories. Yeah, I don't want those. I want more. I want better.

So if we think of some good rising action, if I think of like an example from post apocalyptic and I'm thinking of it because it was literally rising action, that's made of chrome. Mad Max Fury Road right, has great rising action now that they cheat because everything is like, you know, over the top and it's chrome and it's big guitars and trucks and monster trucks and so on.

But it is still intense rising action. And when the the climax comes and, you know, you have to turn around, you have to face them and you have to get through that, overcome the reader fields incredibly satisfied by how this whole thing rose to an intense pinnacle. And that's what you're aiming for. You're aiming for introduce in Act one, rise through Act two.

Slowly, slowly rise through Act two, steep curve after the middle of Act two and then at Act three you want climax. Climax, climax plummets.

Well, I mean, we've beat this one to death, but I agree. Or I think the same thing about the Matrix. And we start off and it's just Mr. Anderson, he's just, you know, doing his job and then he goes to a bar and meets kind of an interesting woman. And then, you know, we just keep getting bigger and bigger and bigger until we get to, you know, what do you need done?

That's not so. I mean, that that scene and I know if you're younger, the the the scene where he walks in and the alarms get set off and they do that gun battle in the lobby of that hotel with all the marble columns and everything like that. I know today it's it's a good scene, but when we saw that in the theater, it's never been done before.

Like, I counted the days down for the DVD to come out because I bought it the day it came out, I put it in. I went to that scene and I must have watched that scene 20 times in a row, just over and over. And over and over and over again. Because that scene was so off the charts.


It was perfection. It was fantastic that that first matrix, the end of Matrix, was just glorious. And then at the end, like, you get to the end and he shot he's lying there, he's bleeding out. And that is your climactic moment and he stands back up. I promise you the the entire theater cheered I promise. Now.

Contrast that to the fourth Matrix movie.

I haven't seen it.

Don't. It's not even worth it.

I haven't.

Seen it. Literally. It's not even worth it. It ends in the most pathetic way. You could possibly and even more pathetic than American gods. Like, it's just it's awful. And so, like, how do you go from writing this story that is this impactful to writing a story that is that unimpaired for I have no idea how you make that journey as a as a story creator.

But like, there's just.

So I didn't know how much of Dune you've actually read.

I couldn't get past I think it's the second is the second one the religious one. Yeah. The first I read probably three tired.

Children of Dune thought. Yeah. So so Frank Herbert fell off a cliff and and I enjoy the Dune books but then I read for worldbuilding and things like that and there are automatic messages that I consume that speak to me you know so but but I absolutely cannot deny people who say I couldn't make it past Dune Messiah or I couldn't make it past children of Dune.

I'm like, I, I understand.

Human science. The second book was the one that I just really.

I get it.

But I've read the first one maybe three times and I've started every time I start the second one and every time I just, you know, I, I can't. I just wander away.

To be honest. I also think that you are perhaps not quite cynical enough for Herbert because.

And you're right, because I loved Kevin Anderson's like, how are. CONAN House a trades. You know, all those series that Anderson did for the Dune series after Frank died, I loved every one of those. I devoured them. But he's a different writer. He's a he's much more of a fantasy sci fi adventure kind of writer, right?

I am a deeply cynical person.

So, yeah.

So Frank Herbert speaks to me at a deep, deep level.

Yeah. So if we if we're just getting back to the the things pretty much, you know, and we talk about how it's not that the movies weren't you know, were any better back in the nineties or whatever, but when you go through the list and you just look at from because they're all the same stinkin movie but die hard look at the tension rise through that to the end to the climax.

Now I took two movies but Kill Bill, you know, all the way to the end where she actually does kill Bill. Yeah, one of the one of the ones that popped up that. That really made me go, my goodness. Because the climax is literally somebody walking away and you mind is blown at the end of the usual suspects.

Like your mind literally melts at the end of that movie when you're like. And so the climax is amazing, but V for Vendetta, Lock Stock and two Smoking Barrels move.

More recently read one and to.

Read what does that's in that style. Yeah that old style any of the Indiana Jones's of the first three after that they lost the script by but the first three absolutely has this rise all the way through it to the climactic ends the alien movies district the Lethal Weapon series, Independence Day like. You look at Minority Report like all of these have these beautiful rises in tensions.

Yeah, the climactic ending that for some reason they're just not doing that for the Terminator.

But they do like it just depends on the action on the movie genre because example, Mission Impossible, the one that didn't do so well because it came out the week before the Barb and Heimer phenomena, which was a really, really silly decision like that. Don't do that.

But yeah, no, no, it wasn't a decision. If you're sitting there before that and you're going, Wait a minute, so we're going to compete against the Barbie movie and a movie about the invention of the atomic bomb. And we're mission. We got Tom Cruise riding a motorcycle off a frickin cliff. We're going to kill or literally going to just mop the floor, you know, using to be a lot of mistakes.

Because before those movies came out, you would I would have put all of my money on Mission Impossible, especially because, remember, Top Gun just came out and you watched it. So, yeah, I'd be like, yeah, no, my money's on Mission Impossible. And then Barb and Heimer happened. Yeah, I was like, What? So what? So yeah, yeah, no.

But, but that one had, that one had Rising tension.

yeah, that was a great one.

That was a big one. The, the Mario Brothers had rising tension. That was such a cute movie. So there are plenty of movies that have rising tension. You're just thinking of the of the crappy ones that don't.

Right? I'm just saying there's a formula that's called theory and structure that have been around since Beowulf and before that, you know that for whatever reason, a lot of the movies that are coming out today that are failing are trying to reinvent the wheel. That's one of the number one reasons why they're failing. They're like, I'm smarter than every writer in the last, you know, 14,000 years, obviously.

So I'm going to do it completely different from anything that's ever been done before. And it's going to be massively successful because what do those, you know, millions of storytellers know from the last 14,000 years of history. So that I don't know.

I've said it before, I must say it again, I think that a bunch of these writers that are not quite that are not getting it right, but I can see the structure or the problem is that they're not smoothing the structure, they're not feeding enough back to the beginning. They're not giving it enough in the middle. It is like they haven't edited.


All right. And I think that part of that is that they haven't adapted to the writing, which the studios are now pushing this super fast writing method. And they just.

Take. Yeah, that's just a it's not only but it's also not only the things that I bitch about. Yeah, it's a it's, it's a perfect storm. Yes. It's all of these things happening all at the same time. It's everything from the education, the generation, the social weirdness that we're in the, the just every it's all of it, you know, it's the financial issues, it's the, it's, it's just we just live in a perfect storm to create the worst stories in the history of humanity.

It's also, frankly streaming, right.

Because streaming again are the perfect storm.

Yeah. Yeah. But but streaming streaming created this pressure cooker environment. Right. And it's now thankfully putting off because streaming services have actually realized that actually no one can watch all your content.

Right. Like, so I got in discussion with someone recently about that because I don't think people understand when you say something like that, when you say, well, it's streaming and they go, I don't understand. Why does it matter? So here's how it breaks down and this is off the top of your attention. But it's an interesting little thing that I can do really quickly.

Back in the day, you had X number of movies whatever that number was, which means there was way more movies that were trying to be made than actually could be made. So you could pick the best of the best of the best and only make those and have less failures than successes because of the fact that you could be.

And people were fighting for the movies.


But people, movie makers, people I didn't even knew were fighting with studios saying like, please let me make this movie. And they worked. They had passion.

Right? I mean, I think they still have passion. I'm not going to take that away from creators.

So really, it still passion that blew us up. A lot of movies are made because the studio now wants all of these freaking sequels, all of these Disney live action bullshit. There is nobody fighting for this. This is the studio.

Well, the studio fought to get the next the last season of the eighties d&d alternate world, Netflix, kids streaming Stranger Things. Thank you. I would throw a word out eventually that would die because I couldn't come up with the title because after the third season the writers were like, We're done, that's it. We're not making anymore. And the studio is like, you're going to you're going to make another one that you are going to make another one.

And they fought it. They didn't want to do it. And somehow either through money or negotiating or whatever, they finally got it done. But they really did not want to continue that series.

But that's the thing. If you don't want to if you don't want to make the movie, if you're just making the movie for money, it shows.

Right? Exactly. So Now, when you have, you know, let's say let's just make up numbers. If before you could only do 100 movies a year, that's all that could legitimately be made. There wasn't enough distribution for more than that. Now you have 10,000. It literally is that much because you have all of these streaming platforms and all of these different distribution models and everything like that.

There is no way that you're going to be as successful having to pick a thousand things out of the pile versus having to pick 100 things out of the pile. You're still you're going to have some misses. Absolutely. We've talked about that, that not every movie from the nineties, not every movie from the early 2000, not every movie from eighties was good and, you know, clockwork.

Not going to polish each movie to the degree that you.

polish those. But that's the other thing is is how much time you have to finish it where we you know before it was two years now it's like no, you got six months. So yeah, I mean, it's all of that again, all that's just one more cog in this perfect storm of doing it.

But if you look at what volunteers said, right. But not only it did argue for Dune, he begged for Dune, He fought for Dune to be made. Right. And I saw an interview where he said and I just finished shooting a scene. It was a six take. And he was like, finally was happy and is like, Thank you, we're done.

And the the voice coach stood up with the accent. Coach stood up and said, Actually, when Paul said this word, he couldn't quite pronounce it right. And we all looked at him. He was like, Brother, it's a made up language. And then the interviewer looked at him and said, Well, what did you do? Did you call today? Would you be blessed?

We shot that again. And it shows like.

Yeah, he's a man after my own heart and how much I will just rewrite and redo because somebody I mean, the last big one was somebody said, I don't understand why you name the island people Comorian as in the continent, people silhouette, hands because silhouette, he kind of sounds like sail away. And I was like, Yeah, rewriting that, like video.

Video. Now you are right there. There are other factors as well. And streaming is big fat, but there's just too much. There's not enough studio, not enough, right? There's not enough people who know stuff and they just churn out content. And that's why it feels unedited, unpolished, you know?

Yeah, I mean, that's one of the reasons. But yes, but it also comes down to understanding story and structure and tension and what we have to do on tension. And we've we've run really long on this. So, yeah, not that I you know, these are always fun. I hope the audience I mean tell us down below if because we got on we probably chased more rabbits on this one than we have all season.

This is closer to the way we did them in the first three seasons where we just like, lets just talk. And now I kind of have a producer gives us kind of a loose script that we, you know, at least with topics. And we did two of them on the list that's sitting here next to me. But but let us know down below if you got something out of this or if you're like, No, you need to stick to your producer's script.

It's a little better because we do want to do as good as we can on these. But the reality is, is the more, I guess the gist from my side and I'll give you a second to do your gist too but just on my side would be I feel like the more you know your story, the more you plan it out, the better your creativity is.

When you're in the moment, the more you can be creative, because then you won't have alien spaceships showing up over your 1980s crime drama story because you're kind of know where we're going and we'll know what the what the riverbanks are and get them to steal it for me, because I really love that that analogy where the banks are not going to let the water go out of the path of where we're going on the river.

So but then a lot of it is going to come in the moment or even better, most of them are going to come later in the moment where you three quarters of the river, you know, down the river and you go, man, if this had happened back then, then this moment would be even better. So you just do it.

You just go back and add it and you come back in and do it. Or the way I do it is I don't go back and added. I go back to where the chapter is and I make a note to add it, and then I come back and I write it as if I had already added it. And that way I can keep going forward and then reach the end.

And then I'll go back and I'll add that moment and kind of after the fact.

So my gist of rising action is a little bit more nuts and bolts because I'm a nuts and bolts person.

So if you imagine your story to be a really crazy staircase going up a mountain right in the beginning, the steps are long right, you've got a little step up and then these long steps, you step up and you walk and you step up and you walk and you step up and you walk.

Right. The rising action star is when the step starts getting shorter, all right? And you start giving the reader more facts. So the steps start getting taller. It's a bigger step for the reader each time, and it starts getting shorter and shorter, the space in between until they get to the top and there's this itty bitty space and the step is this long and they just barely pull themselves up to the top of the mountain and they're ready for the climax.

That's where you want to get to.

You want it turns into a ladder.

It turns into a ladder.

Yeah, that's a great analogy. That's a great way to think about it. And it's just look for those opportunities, but you have to be looking for them. You have to you have to be in the moment. I don't think you can plan it all out and I don't think you can be a complete panther and just think that you're going to create these magical moments because you have no idea where you're going Exactly.

So that's why I don't think it's a war somewhere. I don't think it's a war, but.

Figure out what your sweet spot is right there. And remember, each chapter has to give the reader at least one plot fact in that rising action and the faster that you want the reader to climb the more plot facts you feed them. And I think that is a good place to end this episode. And we will see you soon for another one.


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