With the conclusion of chapter 14, I am again at a stalemate. Unlike what happened in chapter 12, the solution is immediately apparent.
In chapter 14, Zhyx has his first physical confrontation with the villain, and an epic confrontation it is. The two have a several page long fight that takes them to the clouds, to the mountains, and eventually into the sea.
My problem with it was how it ended.
It wasn’t a problem before. In the 2nd draft of the story, Zhyx had a power, a power that ended up not serving much use to the plot. I will not go into specifics, but this power was deleted in order to streamline the story and leave him more vulnerable as a character.
In doing so however it created a problem. The only way to solve this problem was to raise the stakes.
Zhyx was to leave the villain behind in order to save himself, and move on to the final destination of the story, a city where the finale is to take place. His power left his enemy blind, requiring them to recuperate themselves over time, providing a kind of interlude before the final showdown.
With this power gone, the villain’s sight is in pretty good shape, which left me with two questions.
Why does Zhyx leave him behind, and how is he able to get to the final destination before him?
Nothing made sense. No angles I tried worked. All of them seemed too convenient and anticlimactic. The only purpose they served was to preserve the way the story currently operates, which I quickly realized was not the right way to do things. The story is supposed to get better, not stay the same.
It was impossible for the villain to reach the city after the heroes. He would beat them.
This simple fact opened up a lot of exciting possibilities as to just what happens in between this initial battle to the final mano y mano confrontation that will take up the final chapters of the book. Namely, the third act will now be much more elaborate.
Obviously the villain will probably have a lot more henchman under his command in this situation. That means a lot more dead henchman, one of the central staples of this genre and something I am sure a lot of you will like more of.
But above all else, in the interlude between this confrontation and the arrival of the heroes, a greater sense of urgency will be present. Honestly, the third act is not all that good in its current form. There is a lot of good in it, and the ending is still pitch perfect, but the section between here and the ending that quite frankly, just missed the mark. But now, with the underlying threat, everything will be spiced up.
One of the issues I had with it was an overabundance of dialogue. The characters had to be introduced this way, leaving many of their introductions pretty dull. It is far more interesting to meet a character in a situation as opposed to a conversation. The best character introductions of all time are through watching them in action.
Secondly, the characters seem far too relaxed. Too many conversations and not enough making and enacting plans. This is the end of the world they are dealing with. Where was the tension?
The villain getting there first changes everything.
Now when the heroes arrive, the city will be besieged, evildoers will be crawling out of the woodwork, innocent lives will be at risk, and an evil dragon will be ready to do whatever horrible deed it takes to meet his goals.
The hero will have no choice but to fly straight into it, and he will need all the help he can get.
Chapter 14 is finished, and the first few pages of chapter 15 have been edited. Though I do know the ending of the book and have a rough idea what happens in between now and then, the fact remains.
Zhyx will have his work cut out for him.
That is exactly how it should be when you come down to the final act.
Above pictured is a sample of the progress on the illustration since yesterday. The manuscript currently stands at 169,207 words.