Given that it was Valentine's Day yesterday, and that is associated with a lot of special moments between couples, I thought we could talk about the Day After! What do you do on the Day After? Do you run to buy a pill or do you roll over and cuddle?
Of course, i'm not really talking about sex, but about how things progress in a story after a big (usually climactic) moment where a big revelation or a big milestone has taken place. Things like pulling the Sword out of the Stone or finding the Cave of Wonders or coming into one's powers. (And yes I'm done)
Often a big reveal or the accomplishment of a task that had been the objective of act one or even the first two acts might be something hard to follow up: just like any climax, there has to be a wind down right after, because everyone, including the audience, must take a breath and savour what just happened.
(Ok, ok, I'm really done)
One of the things that personally irk me is that this downtime often is spent awkwardly. The characters act like nothing happened, or they talk about what they are feeling rather than act on it.
What I've seen works is to consider any event in terms of tiredness, thrill, and confidence.
Are the characters tired from managing the milestone? If yes, show them being that, let that exhaustion show. When the challenge is behind us, we relax (whether it was resolved with success or failure). And the tiredness comes crushing down. So show that, let them wade through it to manifest their excitement or other emotions. If they aren't tired, then the impact of the milestone should be front and center. Maybe they can't sleep. Or maybe they are stunned. Or worried or eager or grieved. Give them a scene where this manifests.
Are the characters thrilled or grieved by the milestone? Show it. Exhaustion (and the irritation or meekness or numbness that comes with) with triumph looks vastly different to exhaustion with grief or sorrow.
Lastly, are they confident moving forward from the milestone? Do they feel they are now empowered or powered up? Are they looking forward to doing what's necessary for the endgame or the next goal? Or are they feeling like they are suddenly weaker, or depowered, or unfit to do what they set out to do? Whatever it is, combine and compile it with the rest as they bounce back from the milestone, and the stakes reset!
How do you handle the day after?
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Tantz_Aerine at 12:00AM, Feb. 15, 2020
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