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Book Review – The Goddess and the Thief by Essie Fox

The Goddess and the Thief by Essie Fox (Orion Books, 2013)

The Goddess and the Thief was a book I’d put on my Christmas list last year because, as a book worm, a book is the perfect present.

I can’t remember how this book had come to my attention; whether it was a recommendation from friends on Goodreads, or whether it was from one of the many Facebook pages I have liked.

The blurb sounded promising. A girl, called Alice, is uprooted from her life in India and is made to live with her spiritual medium aunt in Windsor, in Victorian England. “Alice,” says the blurb, “is drawn into a plot to steal a sacred Indian diamond.”

After reading the novel The Lie Tree by Frances Hardinge (which I absolutely loved) I thought The Goddess and the Thief would be right up my street.

Except, it really wasn’t.

Unlike The Lie Tree, the heroine of The Goddess and the Thief doesn’t really do much. She spends most of the novel in her bedroom, or locked in bedrooms, or completely in the dark. She is always reacting to things and not being proactive at all.

I get it. That’s her story arc – from someone who reacts to events to someone taking control – but it’s so boring! And annoying. And, SPOILER (so if you don’t want to know, please don’t read on) at one point she is sexually assaulted and she swoons after the man who raped her. Not cool, not cool at all. Very, very damaging stuff that. Very troubling to read and I’m not easily troubled by stuff.

The blurb on Goodreads tells says that The Goddess and the Thief is “A beguiling and sensual Victorian novel of theft and obsession.”

No.

It may be a novel of theft and obsession but it really isn’t sensual. Creepy? Yes. Sensual…? Hell no!

And for that person at the back who is saying, “blimey, everyone is so easily offended these days!” F*#k off.

Only joking 🙂

I’m not easily offended, and, I’m not offended by this work. I just find things like this are so unhelpful.

Anyway, I give this book one out of five stars.

Many people on Amazon and Goodreads loved it. You might love it. It just didn’t float my boat.

Great for those who like beautiful prose (the first few chapters are beautifully written). Not great for those who like a pro-active heroine.

 

 

Dragon Rider – Part Twenty-Eight

Dragon Rider

Chapter Twelve Continued

Dreams

Drake glared at Pyro and grabbed his Zephyr before he climbed out of the carriage.  Pyro and Willow followed.

‘The Fortress is that way,’ said Charon pointing across the valley, ‘Goodbye.’

‘I’m going to complain, I am, only doing half a job, ‘shouted Pyro as Charon dashed around to the front of his carriage, ‘I ask you, what is the world coming to when even the ferryman of the Underworld won’t do his job!’

‘Good day,’ said Charon already seated at the front of his carriage.  He turned to his kelpies, shouted ‘YAH!’ and they were off, thundering back to where they had just come from, ready to collect more fresh souls.

Drake slung his guitar over his back and looked down the disintegrating bridge, a thin crooked finger pointing the way to the Fortress, its iron bulk veiled by the tangled wall of miles and miles of brambles and trees.  He inwardly sighed; they hadn’t even travelled half-way to the Fortress and they’d got so many more miles to travel.  The road before them looked never-ending.  How the hell were they going to get to the Fortress now?

‘Come on,’ he said, his voice a strange mixture of anger and misery, ‘be careful where you tread, I don’t fancy going for a swim-’

‘I need a break,’ said Pyro, plonking himself down, his stubby legs hanging off the side of the bridge.

‘Pyro!’ hissed Drake through clenched teeth.

‘What?’ asked Pyro, turning to look back at Drake, ‘I need some fresh air.  If you don’t mind me saying, it was getting a little smelly in there.’

Drake glared back at him, trying to count to a hundred in his head, quickly, before he exploded.

‘Hey,’ said Willow, placing her hand gently on Drake’s arm, ‘Let’s take a few minutes and we can check out the Scroll.’

‘Okay,’ replied Drake, his hands pumping at his side as he tried not to put his hands around Pyro’s neck.

‘Show me the way,’ asked Willow, holding the Scroll of the Dead up for Drake to see.  Black symbols began to burn brightly on the brown parchment in front of them.

PLOP!

‘What does it say?’ asked Drake.

PLOP!

‘It’s saying that-’

Drake spun on his heels.  ‘Pyro?’ he screeched, as Pyro threw another fragment of the crumbling bridge into the lake.

‘Yes?’

‘What do you think you are doing?’

‘Trying to see if I can skim the water with these bits of rubble,’ said Pyro, holding up a handful of jagged pieces of the bridge in his hand.  ‘It’s supposed to be good for relieving stress,’ he said, lobbing another bit of bridge into the water.  The large fragment disappeared into the grey water with a loud plop.  ‘Doesn’t seem to be working though.  Maybe it’s my technique. I should’ve listened to my Great Aunt Gazit, she was Champion Skimmer in our village for five years in a row when I was growing up.  Mind you, that could’ve had something to do with the fact that everyone was scared of her, she had-’

‘Pyro?’

‘Yes?’

‘Shut up!’ screamed Drake.

‘Huh.  You asked me a question-’

Drake turned his back on Pyro.  ‘So what’ve you come up with?’ he asked Willow.

‘Well-’

‘Can you hear that?’ asked Pyro, his knobbly hand cupped to his ear.

‘Pyro, we’re a little busy at the moment,’ said Drake trying, for Willow’s sake, to keep his anger under control.

‘I can hear it,’ said Willow, looking up from the scroll, ‘it sounds like dance music.’

They all stood still, listening to the dull thump, thump of music coming from somewhere in front of them.

‘That can’t be right,’ said Drake, unsure of what he was hearing, ‘there’s nothing here, just the lake.’

‘Well, that’s definitely dance music,’ said Willow.

Drake looked out over the grey waters of the lake; something was stirring in its depths sending great bubbles of white water up to the surface and waves were beginning to lap against the bridge.

‘What’s going on?’ asked Pyro, jumping up from his perch on the edge of the bridge, the bottom of his brown chinos wet.

There was a huge explosion of water, about thirty metres in front of them, and a great white yacht emerged from the depths of the lake like a shark.  The vessel was enormous, probably around 100 metres in length, and great torrents of water gushed from its wooden decks as it surfaced.  Dance music blasted from the vessel as it sailed towards them.

‘Wow!  That is some boat,’ said Drake, as, within a matter of minutes, the yacht had drawn in alongside them.

‘Come aboard!’ shouted a man in a cream suit, peering from the deck as the gangway extended onto the bridge.

‘Blackthorn,’ said Pyro, tugging at Drake’s sleeve, ‘I don’t think we should.  I’ve got a bad feeling-’

Drake pulled his arm away from Pyro.  What was it with this guy?  ’Thanks, but we need to go to the Fortress,’ he shouted back to the man.

‘That’s okay, we’re heading that way.’

‘But you’re in a boat,’ said Willow, pointing from the boat to the Fortress, ‘and the Fortress is over there.  Behind a Forest.’

‘This is a special boat,’ replied the man with a huge flashy grin, beckoning for them to board, ’What harm can it do?’

‘Blackthorn, come on, let’s walk,’ said Pyro.

Pretend Pyro isn’t there before you explode, thought Drake.  He turned to Willow.  ‘Does it say anything on the Scroll?’

‘No,’ said Willow, taking a quick peek at the scroll.

‘Well then, it can’t be anything bad.  Let’s give it a go.’

‘I don’t know, maybe Pyro‘s right.’

‘Come on, surely it’s better than walking for miles across this bridge and then having to fight through that lot,’ said Drake, pointing to the Forest.  ‘It’ll be quicker.’

‘It’s a bad idea,’ said Pyro, stepping slowly backwards, away from the boat.

‘I could always knock you out with my music and drag you across,’ said Drake through clenched teeth.

‘No thanks.’

‘Come on,’ said Drake, grabbing Pyro by the collar and pushing him up the gangway, ‘you first. Oh, and Pyro, if you do one, I will personally kill you!’

‘Welcome aboard the Arcadia,’ said the man in the cream suit, as Pyro, Drake and Willow climbed aboard.

‘What is this?’ asked Willow, her mouth wide open as she marvelled at the heaving crowd, all dancing to the music being played by a DJ in baggy t-shirt and low-slung jeans, mixing it up on the decks behind the swimming pool.

‘This little thing,’ replied the man, pulling his Ray-Ban’s down his nose so that he could look over them with his pale blues eyes, that sparkled like sapphires next to his tanned skin, ‘is something I dreamt up as an alternative to that dreadful man, Charon.  So unrefined.’  He winked at Willow, ‘Just think of it as your last little bit of hedonism before you pass to the other side.’

‘Oh, we’re not dead,’ said Drake.

‘Really?’ said the man, flashing a gold tooth as a wide smile spread across his face.  ‘Let me introduce myself, I’m Morpheus’ he said, pointing to his smooth bare chest peeping out from under his suit, a chunky platinum chain sparkling against his orange-looking skin, ‘and that’s Hypno, our resident DJ.’  Morpheus looked at the platinum Daniel Roth watch on his wrist, ‘We will be ascending in a minute as we begin our journey to The Fortress, so why don’t you relax and enjoy the ride.’

‘Ascend?’ asked Pyro, holding his stomach with one hand, his mouth in the other.

‘Yes, how else did you think we were going to get there?’

Pyro turned to Drake.  ‘Did I ever mention that I’m not good with heights?’ he asked, his face had drained of colour, his skin taking on a green hue.

‘There’s everything you could desire aboard this vessel.  What’s mine is yours; the swimming pool, beauty salon for the lady, or you could try the sundeck or Jacuzzi on the upper floor,’ said Morpheus, gesturing at the deck with his jewel-encrusted hand, as the boat began to rise gently into the air like a Hover-copter.  The engine roared somewhere below deck before the boat turned smoothly in the air and began its journey south.

‘I really don’t like heights,’ said Pyro, grabbing tightly onto the nearest railing, his knuckles white.

‘We should be at our destination in about an hour, so enjoy yourselves.’

‘This is amazing,’ said Drake, smiling at a pretty dancer, dressed in a small pink top and white shorts, who had winked at him, ‘when I die I want to go like this.’

‘For sure,’ said Morpheus, grabbing a glass of clear liquid from a silver tray as a waiter, dressed head to toe in white, passed by.  ‘Madame.’ he said giving the glass to Willow.  He turned to Drake.  ‘Is this music to your liking?’

‘We’re more into alternative stuff, that kind of thing,’ said Drake.

‘No problem,’ said Morpheus.  ’Why don’t you come with me,’ he said, putting his long arm around Willow‘s shoulders, ’and we’ll sort that out.’

‘Okay,’ said Willow, after she had finished taking a sip of the clear liquid.

‘Don’t I know you?’ asked Pyro, still clinging tightly to the railing, before Morpheus could walk away.

‘I don’t think so, I don’t generally tend to hang around with demons,’ said Morpheus with a smirk.

Death’s Apprentice – Part 45

‘How much longer?’

‘Not far,’ said Hel as she skipped through the trees like a ballerina on speed.

Not far? Not far? It felt like they’d been walking through this shitty forest for days! Joe didn’t know how long he could go on for. His stomach felt like it was eating itself and his legs didn’t feel as if they belonged to him anymore. And his mood? His mood was maybe not a good thing to discuss.

‘Here we are, look!’ Hel screeched to a halt, raised her small hand and pointed at something that Joe couldn’t see yet.

He moved closer to the little girl and looked out of the trees into a small clearing. There was what looked like a small log cabin surrounded by a small kitchen garden full to the brim with herbs and vegetables. Grey smoke twisted out of the chimney and drifted into the eternally twilit sky.

‘Stay here!’ she ordered, before she raced off towards the cabin, her hounds swiftly following.

Except for Hades.

Hades seemed to have developed a connection with Joe. The huge dog stood next to him, his muscles taut, his eyes alert and…

God, what was that smell?

Joe looked at Hades. Hades looked at his bottom then looked at Joe, his head slowly getting lower and lower.

‘Hades, have you…?’

Hades’ head dropped even further.

It was at that moment that Joe decided he like Hades a lot. He watched as Hel skipped off towards the cabin and he wondered whether she’d allow the dog to go with him back to up there, “real life”, or whatever it was. Because if this was the Underworld (and it definitely was as far as he could tell) and this was “real”, then what was up there? What did he call it? The upper world? But, Joe mused, it was more like a big downer, especially living with his mom and shitdad.

Maybe, IF he ever got back to up there, he’d have to consider alternative living arrangements now he was working.

He shrugged as if in conversation with himself. What did any of that matter? He’d deal with that if he ever got out of here alive.

Alive? Wasn’t that ironic as he was in the Underworld?

There was a long howl that seemed to echo around the forest. Hades’ ears pricked up. He threw his head back and gave his response – a long sorrowful howl that sent a shiver down Joe’s back. When he’d finished his cry, he nudged Joe’s leg and began to stroll off towards the cabin.

So, you wanna be a writer? Theme.

Theme?

What is this theme you are talking about Angela, and why do I need it in my novel?

Very good question!

A theme is:

“an underlying….message to your story. This is an idea that runs through the whole of the novel. The message could be, for example, “crime doesn’t pay,” or “love conquers all”.

(Taken from my post So, you wanna be a writer? Five things you need to do in Act One of your story.)

But, why do I need a theme?

Because it will make your story flow and will bring cohesion to your narrative.

It’s the mission statement of your novel.

You don’t have to explicitly tell the reader your theme but it will inform your writing and thus be implied.

My first ever novel, Dragon Rider, had the message that Revenge is self-destructive.

From the beginning of the novel. I state my case;

“It is said that a man with revenge in his heart should dig two graves; one for his enemy and one for himself.  Perhaps this is true, but I’m not ready to take to my grave.  Not yet.

I ask you; what do you do if there is no justice?  If the law itself is rotten and corrupt.  What then?  Should we let those who do wrong get away with it, turn the other cheek to their crimes?”

And then, at the end of the novel, I state;

“All I know is that now I have my revenge. Fenrik is destroyed and for that I am grateful. But I will never be healed. The hatred, the need for revenge has kept me alive for far too long and now it pulses through my veins like my lifeblood.”

Revenge as a self-destructive force runs as a theme throughout the novel.

The theme is a universal idea that transcends cultural barriers.

If the Plot is the what of the story, and the characters of the novel are who, the theme of the story is why.

So, how do I create a theme?

It starts with you. You have to decide what message you want to convey in your story. Do you want to say something about love, for example? And what would that be? Love conquers all? Love makes us fools?

But, don’t preach!

Nothing will put a reader off more than preaching at them about something you believe in. The theme should be subtle and hidden within the lines of text but not too hidden that it isn’t conveyed to the reader. They should be able to detect the theme lying just below the surface.

If you’re a plotter, plot your novel (even if it’s just the bare bones), consider your character’s motivations, the conflict in your story and then brainstorm ideas for your theme.

If you’re a pantser, again, consider the conflict in your story, your character’s motivations and begin to piece together the message you are trying to convey. The skeleton of your theme will probably be in your writing already, waiting to be discovered. Once you find it, you can edit your work to make the theme and your writing more cohesive.

And remember, the theme can be conveyed through a character’s actions, speech and thoughts, and the symbolic use of the environment (In Bones, I use the weather as an indicator of the tone of the scene. Maybe a bit cliche but, I don’t care, I like it :)).

What themes can you think of? How have you conveyed these themes to the reader? What worked? What didn’t?

Let me know!

 

 

 

Dragon Rider – Part Twenty-Seven

Dragon Rider

Chapter Twelve Continued

Dreams

The journey continued in silence as they passed through the Forest of Suffering with its thickets of sword-like brambles that writhed across the path like slimy wyrms and the gnarled fingers of the trees that reached up to the sun-less sky like snakes on the head of the Medusa.  Every now and again, a terrifying scream would rip through the silence of the forest, interrupting, for the briefest second, the elephant-like snores of Pyro and the intermittent rumble of his farts.

Drake’s mood was worsening with every second that passed as the coach rocked to and fro wafting the vile smell around.  How he would like to play his Zephyr and knock them all unconscious, maybe then he could finally get some peace.  But then, Pyro would still smell, he always did.

Light flooded the carriage as they emerged from the pulsating shadows of the forest.  A vast lake lay in front of them, its deep and un-naturally still water surrounded by weeping willows, their elegant branches drooping sorrowfully onto its glass-like surface.

Charon directed the coach over the long crumbling stone bridge that ran over the lake, its surface scarred with a spider’s web of deep cracks and crevices.  The wheels bounced up and down over the bumpy surface, jolting Pyro awake.

‘So,’ yawned Pyro loudly, ‘What have I missed?’  The djinn let out another blast of smelly wind.  ‘Oh, sorry,’ he said, slapping his chops and scratching at his belly.

Drake remained silent but his green eyes bored into Pyro.

‘How long have we been travelling?’ exhaled Willow, her face looking pale from holding her breath.

‘I don’t think-’

‘No, you don’t think, do you?  That’s the problem!’ snapped Drake.

‘You know Blackthorn, I’m not really feeling the love at the moment,’ replied Pyro, ‘I think you’re a bit tense, need to chill a bit.  If you don’t you’ll only end up having indigestion or worse.  Trust me, I know what I’m talking about-‘

‘Tense?’ said Drake, his hands clamped onto his legs as he tried to stop himself from exploding.  ‘Tense?  Maybe that’s because you wind me up Pyro.  I don’t like you!’

‘Oh,’ said the djinn, his bottom lip curling under, ‘if you’re going to be like that.’

‘Drake!’ said Willow, ‘You’ve hurt his feelings.’

‘It’s okay,’ said Pyro.  He turned to Drake, pulling his shoulders back.  ‘Why bring me here then?  I never asked to come.’

‘Because,’ hissed Drake, ‘you’re working for the man I hate, the man who ordered the death of my father-‘

‘Drake, you don’t know that,’ interrupted Willow, ‘not even Pyro knows who got him to steal the Hand of Glory-’

‘You’re working for him Pyro, and I want to know the minute he summons you again.’  Drake looked out of the window, ‘I hate him,’ he spat, ‘and I hate you.’

Suddenly the carriage ground to a halt, smacking Willow’s and Pyro’s head off the back of their seats.

Drake bolted upright in his seat, all hostilities momentarily forgotten.  For the moment anyway.  ‘Are we at the Fortress?’

‘No, I don’t think so,’ said Willow wiping the sleeve of her hoodie over the wet glass, ‘The Fortress is still miles away, we haven’t even crossed the bridge yet but…oh-’

Charon appeared at the carriage door, his white face screwed up in disgust.  He took out the handkerchief from his top pocket with a flourish and placed it on the silver handle of the door before slowly opening it.

‘Problem?’ asked Drake.

Charon took a deep breath and tried not to retch as he spoke.  ‘Yes, a very big problem.  I am sick of hearing you three arguing.  It’s worse than listening to the Harpies’ screeching!  And what,’ he said, his voice so high now that it was more of a whisper, ‘is that smell?’

Pyro smiled meekly and shrugged.

‘I’m warning you, I will abandon you,’ said Charon, close to hyperventilating as he heard Pyro release even more wind, ‘in the Forest.’  He paused to retch again as the smell wafted towards him before he slammed the door shut and then spun around and returned to the front of the carriage.

‘You can’t do that!’ shouted Willow, ‘the Underworld Act, remember?’

Charon gave a warning hiss.

‘What’s his problem?’ asked Pyro.  There was a long silence and then Pyro let rip again.  ‘Oops, sorry, don’t know what’s wrong with me.’

Drake took a deep breath and counted to ten.  ‘For Heaven’s sake Pyro, do you have to?’ he said through gritted teeth, ‘Can’t you control yourself for just two minutes?’

‘Oh, excuse me for breathing, have a go at the djinn why don’t you.  I’m not feeling myself at the moment, I think I’m coming down with Low Altitude sickness or something-‘

‘What?’

‘Well, it’s being underground, it’s not natural for a djinn to be so constricted and I bet there’s iron down here, no wonder my digestive system is all to pot!’

‘Pyro,’ said Drake, his teeth still tightly clamped together, ‘You’re a demon, demons are used to being underground -‘

‘I AM NOT A DEMON!’ screeched Pyro, his face blazing orange.

‘Actually Pyro, I think you’ll find djinns are a type of demon,’ interjected Willow.

‘Oh, what is this?  Gang up on Pyro day?  Are you trying to tell me what I am?  Do you think I have a personality disorder?’

‘No, but-’

‘I’m not a demon, end of,’ said Pyro folding his arms across his chest.

The coach screeched to a stop again.  Charon sprinted to the side of the carriage and wrenched the door open.  ‘OUT!’  he screeched.  ‘I’ve had enough,’ he said flinging his arms in the air, ‘of you arguing and I cannot stand that smell any longer!  Get out!’

Drake, Willow and Pyro just stared at Charon.

‘GET OUT, GET OUT!’ shouted Charon.  ‘I am not paid enough for this!  GET OUT!’

‘But you can’t,’ said Willow, ‘The-’

‘Underworld Act,’ interrupted Charon, ’I know, I’m sick of you telling me.  But, if I may draw your attention to Section 10, sub-section 5 c, Exclusions and Exceptions, it clearly states that I can throw you out of the carriage if my life is endangered or threatened.’

Willow laughed, ’Threatened?’

‘That smell,’ said Charon, his hand clamped over his nose, ’is in danger of suffocating me.  Now, GET OUT!’

Willow took the scroll out of her bag and unfurled it.  ’Game over.  He’s right.’

Charon stepped aside and motioned for them to get out quickly.

Death’s Apprentice – Part 44

‘A witch, hey?’ Joe was talking more to himself than to Hel.

‘Why? Is that a problem?’ Hel’s eyes were narrowed into suspicious slits.

‘No, of course not,’ he replied, ‘it’s just…well, I’ve never met a witch before, so…’ He shrugged.

‘You haven’t?’

‘No.’

‘Oh, well, there’s a first time for everything. Come on.’ Hel turned to leave.

‘It’s just…it’s a bit…you know…’

‘What?’ She asked twisting her head to look at him.

‘Well, fairy tale-y.’

‘What’s fairy tale-y?’

‘They’re stories adults tell to shut kids up. And they always have wicked witches lurking in forests.’

‘Well, not every witch is wicked, but every forest does have a witch.’

Joe very much doubted that.

‘Is this witch evil?’ he asked, suddenly worried about being turned into a frog or being burned alive in a cauldron. The way his luck was going at the moment, he knew anything was possible.’

‘I dunno…’ and with that, Hel skipped off into the trees.

So, you wanna be a writer? The Eight-Point Arc.

The Eight-Point Arc

The eight-point arc? What the f*$k is that? Well, that’s what I’m here to tell you. And, I can see you’re very happy about that 🙂

In my post, So, you wanna be a writer? What is a plot? I explained that a plot is:

“a sequence of events that are connected to one another through causality. Causality is the relationship between cause and effect; when one event makes something else happen, and that event, in turn, makes something else happen.

Plot is the what of the story (the characters being who, the theme is why).”

The eight-point arc is one way of organizing the plot and, as the name suggests, has eight parts.

These are:

  1. Stasis
  2. Trigger
  3. The Quest
  4. Surprise
  5. Critical Choice
  6. Climax
  7. Reversal
  8. Resolution

Yeah, yeah, Angela, but what the actual f*%k does that mean?

It’s really simple.

Stasis

This is the beginning part of your novel, the part before the triggering event of the story, the state of equilibrium or inactivity. As I stated in my post So, you wanna be a writer? Five things you need to do in Act One of your story, its:

“basically the beginning of the story, the part where the hero is inactive or, to use the posh word, in stasis. Stasis means a period of inactivity or equilibrium. Our hero is inactive, going about her business as she usually would until she is called into action when a triggering event happens.”

But, what is a triggering event?

Trigger

The triggering event is something beyond the control of our hero which, in the end, causes our hero to act. It doesn’t have to be huge, or necessarily bad. It doesn’t even have to be recognised as the triggering event at the time but it must set the story in motion. The triggering event causes the story to move forward. The first step if you like in the plot.

The Quest

The triggering event sets the story in motion and creates the quest for the hero. The quest, simply put, is a journey the hero goes on to reach his goal.

Is that it?

No, you have to throw in a few surprises on the way:

Surprise

As a writer, you have to throw surprises into the path of the hero. They can be pleasant surprises, such as the hero meeting an old friend, or bad surprises, like the hero finding out that that friend is working for the enemy. They can also be REALLY unpleasant surprises but whatever their nature, the best surprises in the narrative block the hero’s way and create obstacles on their road to success.

However, don’t forget plausibility when creating your surprises. They HAVE to be believable within the context of the story. Also, a predictable surprise that can be seen coming from a few miles off, is not an effective way of storytelling. The surprises have to be both unexpected AND plausible.

Critical Choice

This is an important part of the novel. There must come a point when the hero is faced with what looks like an insurmountable challenge. In order to get over this obstacle, the hero has to make a difficult decision, a critical choice. It is this point, and the choice that the hero makes, that determines their fate for the rest of the story. The hero MUST make the decision themselves and it cannot be left to chance or fate.

This is the hero making their own decisions and deciding their own fate.

Climax

The climax is the part of the story where the tension and action reach the peak of intensity. It’s the consequence of the critical decision the hero made when they faced their greatest challenge and decided their own fate with the choice or choices that they made.

However, the climax is definitely not the end of the story. It serves as a transition from the rising action of the story to the falling action of the story.

Reversal

The reversal is the result of the critical choice and the climax. It produces a shift in the status of the characters.

This is the place in the story where the hero is seen to bring together everything they’ve learnt on their journey and focus on a new goal. Essentially, it’s a shift in perspective. It can be a shift in the way the character thinks but also a shift in perspective of the reader.

The reversal is a change of direction, for example, a character who has been “bad” up to this point, turns “good”, or bad luck turns to good or vice versa. The reversal should be plausible AND probable.

Resolution

The resolution is the wrapping up of all the threads of the story. It’s a return to a place of rest and a fresh stasis where it’s obvious the hero’s character has been changed somehow.

As I said in my post, So You Wanna Be a Writer? Four things you need to have in Act Three of your novel;

“All significant loose ends should be tied up, and the tension of the story should ease after the drama of the climax. If our hero’s goal isn’t completely fulfilled in the climax, it needs to be achieved here.

The reader needs to have a satisfying conclusion to the story and everything that was promised to them over the course of the story should now be fulfilled.”

Conclusion

The eight-point arc can be an effective way of planning a story. It’s not the only way but it can be a useful tool to keep your writing on track.

What do you think of the eight-point arc? Have you used it? How did you find it?