In Preparation For Act 2 — The Honeymoon: Structure and Outline

Any writing projects comes with its challenges, and often, as the writer tries to figure out interesting ways to deal with all those challenges, sometimes ideas that seemed neat at the time, end up not working out so well.

In the case of The Honeymoon, I’m now facing the ugly truth that the original structure is not working as well as I’d hoped. Which is why it’s time to (drumroll)…

Rethinking the structure

When I set out to write the story, I wanted the Car Crash to be somewhat centric to the narrative, since it’s the only location I was offered in the setup. So, I decided to structure the narrative with two timelines—one going away from the crash, one going towards it. To do that, I also decided to switch the current timeline with every scene. That might seem a little confusing if you only read one scene at a time, but makes a little more sense if you read the whole story in one go.
Now, while I like to maintain the two timelines, I have decided to switch up the way I present them. Instead of going back and forth with every single scene, I think it would be better to minimize the amounts of breaks in the timeline throughout the narrative.
See, one of the biggest reasons for this writing project is to look at my own approach of structuring a narrative, and what I can do better after the first, rough draft. Restructuring the outline to make the story make more sense or seem more fluent is part of the writing process, and so I have decided to restructure the first act slightly.

The current layout for Act 1 is as follows:

Scene 1, Sarah Goes For Broke (Present)
Scene 2, Nathan Plays Big (Past)
Scene 3, Mitch Makes A Deal (Present)
Scene 4, Sarah’s Getting Ready (Past)
Scene 5, Nathan Makes A Call (Present)
Scene 6, Mitch Is Committed (Past)

The new outline will be:

Scene 1, Sarah Goes For Broke (Present)
Scene 2, Mitch Makes A Deal (Present)
Scene 3, Nathan Makes A Call (Present)
Scene 4, Nathan Plays Big (Past)
Scene 5, Sarah’s Getting Ready (Past)
Scene 6, Mitch Is Committed (Past)

As you can see, I streamlined the flow of time. One thing that has happened is that I moved a step away from the original Fiasco setup. In Fiasco, you play out every scene in a specific order (clockwise from the starting player), never changing who goes when. By switching the scenes around to make the times match, I’m also forced to switch the order of scenes around between Scenes 1-3 and Scenes 4-6. Unless I want to rewrite entire scenes in a different continuity, I have no choice but to do it that way.
However, since I loosen that restrained, I can arrange the second Act right for the beginning in a way more suitable for the narrative, than having to follow the rules.
Act 2 will start with three scenes in the past, and finish off with three scenes in the present time. At least that’s the current idea. It takes away from the early idea of using the car crash as both beginning and end point, but I believe that’s okay. It still will be featured twice in the narrative, which gives it enough focus, I’d say.
Of course, even this new outline for act 1 is still subject to change based on the final six scenes. Things might change, and, depending on how things go, scenes might even end up being interchanged between act one and two.
After all, I’m not playing a game of Fiasco, but using the game to be inspired for a fun and entertaining story.

Act 2 Outline

Time to think about the outline for the next act, before we dive in head-first next week.

Writing outlines is one of the best things a writer can do, and one of the hardest, fucking things I ever try doing. God, I hate doing it. I do. It’s just so hard to pre-think in one-off sentences what could happen next from scene to scene.

Regardless… Let’s do this.

First off, let’s pick a rotation for the characters and their scenes, since we now established that the fixed rotation is out. What I think would work best is something like that:

Scene 07 — Sarah (Past) — This scene will go from the trio sneaking away from the reception, and hitting the road.

Scene 08 — Mitch (Past) — This scene will have the trio arrive at the bar and having a stand-off with the drug-people until the bikers show up.

Scene 09 — Nathan (Past) — In this scene, Nathan will escape with Sarah after some sort of struggle with the bikers, ending where Scene 1 starts (with possible overlap).

Scene 10 — Nathan (Present) — This scene will be after the dust settles from the shoot-out, offering an escape for the trio.

Scene 11 — Mitch (Present) — This scene will deal with Mitch trying to get even with Nathan and Sarah, while they’re on the run from the mob/bikers.

Scene 12 — Sarah (Present) — The final scene will remain undisclosed at this point. It will be based on everything else that has happened up to this point, the Writer Emergency card that were drawn, and the card that will be drawn for this scene. It will be a surprise, for sure.

As you can see, you kept the outline a lot short than the first time around. The reason for that are the cards I’m using, because they introduce so many great ideas, which, together with any previous scenes, make a too-detailed outline feel to restricting and even obsolete. This approach, I believe, will be more flexible in the approach while maintaining a sense of focus from start to finish.

There you have it. Act 2 is mapped out. Act 1 will be rearranged for a better sense of time flow. And the ending is still unthought of, keeping things interesting, for sure. Even after the last scene, we still have to look at the Aftermath (another Fiasco thing), which will look at the resolutions and consequences of everything the trio went through.

Hope you’re as excited as I am. Drop me comment and let me know what you think. I’d love for you to interact with me and have a conversion about the structure of this story!

If you like what you see, consider dropping by my Patreon Page and help me create more written art. I’ll immortalize your name and webspace right here, if you do.

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