Today we wrapped up the final edits of chapter 13 of my fantasy/adventure epic Never Heroes, the tale of a selfish dragon who, by way of being blackmailed, goes on to become a great hero. This is a big day for Never Heroes, for chapter 13, titled Where The Demon Lives, was the final part of the 2nd act. This brings us on to the third and final act of the book. We now have a mere five chapters to go before we’re done.
The final act is an important part of the story as are the first and second acts. The first act grounds you in the story, introduces you to the setting and characters, and sets up the narrative that the rest of the work shall follow. The second act, which is in many ways the toughest, holds the interest of the viewer or reader, moving the story and plot along, establishing the conflicts that shall later be resolved and so forth. It is the bulk of the journey, and without it, a story will fail.
Now the third and final act, that is your climax. That is where all the action comes to a head, all conflicts are resolved, friends become enemies, enemies become friends, or enemies become deader.
My final act finds my heroes returning to a city that my fire breathing protagonist threatened with obliteration in the book’s opening chapters. Only now instead of coming to destroy it, he has come to save it. All the people he terrorized and threatened with death he now casts his wings wide before to shield them from the fire of a slightly less friendly wyrm. It is a conclusion very much in the spirit of the Kaiju genre. The two big monsters duke it out in a battle that spans the final two chapters of the book.
Of course, as great as two dragons punching each other is, that can’t be all the closing pages are. That would make the ending of this book one of spectacular monotony. We can’t very well have that. There has to be more than a one on one tussle with two cloud cutters (what dwarves call dragons in this universe). There has to be breaks in the action, emotion, tension, suspense, and only then will the spectacular set pieces be more than just prose dressing.
During the last draft, the final chapters were the parts of the book that required the greatest amount of revision. Two of my main villains were sorely underused, several supporting characters were not present even though it made sense for them to be there, and there was far too great a focus on this one on one fight between hero and villain when it should, and eventually was, so much more. I also decided to put one of my characters in jeopardy, thereby holding some threat over my readers so this final battle would carry more weight.
For these reasons, I’m most looking forward to editing these chapters. It was such a joy to see the story come together in ways that never even occurred to me in earlier drafts, and now with a little spit and polish I can put this into prose worthy of the characters that have kept me going strong these last few years.
Hard to believe that inside of two weeks, this book shall be finally and definitively done. At last I’ll be able to devote more attention to other projects that have languished on the sidelines, and work on the other books in this series as well. Red and his adventure are far too grant to be contained in the pages of a single book.
Only when we’re done though. The way things are going, it looks like this will actually happen.