The first one was the set-up and contained the inciting incident (sometimes referred to as Catalyst) and the first plot point. It was very dramatic, very interesting, and everything led to a specific point – yes, the first plot point.
So what happens in the second quartile? The MC (that’s Main Character) reacts to the 1PP (1st Plot Point). Runs and hides, or hides and runs, or tries to get people on-side, or tries to get people out of his (for this occasion, the MC is ‘he’) life, or he acts like every other human being (or sentient being) who has just had his life hit the fan with a load of [you know what] – he’s Reacting to the situation and trying to figure out what to do about it. He may even try on some things, but these will be first dimension things – and of course, they don’t work, or they don’t work as expected, because [pause for dramatic effect] he hasn’t yet figured out how to put his whole heart and soul, his character arc part, into the effort of change – he can’t yet fight back with his whole being because he’s not yet learned all he has to learn about himself.
That’s the first half of the 2Q (2nd quartile). The next bit, some people call it a pinch point (this is PP1, Pinch Point 1), is the point where the baddie gets centre stage. Not necessarily from baddy POV, but its where the reader has to meet, see, feel, experience what it is that stands in the way of the MC. And I do mean FEEL. The reader has to experience the fear of whatever it is that is the representative of the obstruction for this story. And then he has to react to that and move onto the next main point.
Everything in 2Q leads to the next biggest point in the story: MidPoint (or the beginning of 3Q). Build the pieces (scenes) up to the monster in the room – and then watch as it falls off the edge of the waterfall. The world is turned on its head – again, but worse! [monster, ghost, chipmunk, devil, whatever word you choose to use at that point – but I preferred not to say elephant, ’cause I don’t want to envisage an elephant going over the waterfall. My choice.]
The 2Q isn’t the quickest section of the story, but it can be the most interesting. Why? Because this is the place the MC can show the depth of three dimensions of character. The outer, surface things that represent him, the inner demons that haunt him, and the first step to recognising (ie the beginning of knowledge which will come in useful when he finally decides to Act) the first steps required to change his life (which is the 4Q, so we’ll get to that later).
And the lead-in here is that the MidPoint is either a false positive or a false negative (see McKee, Robert: Story for what that means) because there’s another part later (PP2) where the opposite emotive aspect will be applied to the MC journey.
So, Q2 is the Reaction, Meet the Monster, and Lead to the Mid.
Simple. Q2: React to 1PP, Meet the Monster in PP1, move onto MidPoint.
Now, go right ahead and do it (I’m watching). I’ll be back with Q3 for the next post.