Present the setting, time and immediate context at the beginning of the story. Establish the tone the reader will rely upon. Compel the reader to move to the middle. Introduce the opposition. This should be done with a subtle notice in the beginning and move on from there. You should introduce your first door of no return here.
Readers are introduced to the hero's world. A disturbance interrupts this hero's world. The hero may ignore the call. The hero crosses into a dark world. If the hero could quite easily walk away from the conflict and go back to his normal way of life, you haven't crossed the first threshold into the second Act. Some big thing has to happen to push them through so they can't return. This should happen in the first quarter of the novel.
This is a series of battles between the hero and opposition. Subplots bloom here as well as the deeper meanings of the book. Deepen character relationships. Keep the reader interested. Set up the final battle that will wrap up the end. Toward the end of this phase is the second door of no return. The meat and potatoes of the novel happens here. This is where the hero makes his or her discoveries that will lead him toward the end and the final conflict. A mentor appears to teach the hero. Various encounters occur. The hero has a dark moment within himself he must overcome in order to continue. A talisman aids in battle. Door of no Return #2 should happen with a quarter of the novel left to go, toward the end of the middle. The hero has no choice but to go through to the knockout ending.
Tie up all loose ends. Give a feeling of something beyond the pages. What does it all mean?
The final battle is fought. The hero returns to his life or what's left of it.
Since I don't want to make a mess in my booklet so I can use this again later, I'll put my responses here. I picked up a writing self-study course and I am working my way through to try and take the huge plot arc and break it down by character into books. I thought perhaps someone might want to read my work as I go along.
My lead is a half demon, half human. His internal conflict is providing for himself, realizing he is a good person despite the hand he's been dealt and coming to terms with being a demon. His external conflict comes from the police tracking him not only for being a prostitute but for a string of murders in his neighborhood. A set of demon hunters come into the area searching for the demon causing the murders. How the internal and external conflicts work together or illuminate one another is he feels responsible to protect the girls he works with but can't seem to do so without triggering the demon. The demon kills and that draws unwanted attention. ((This may very well be where I need the most work because I'm pulling teeth trying to come up with something that makes sense here.)) His objective is to get into a ritzy brothel instead of working on the street and protect the girls he cares about. His confrontation comes when the demon hunters corner him and he can't get away. It is either kill or be killed and he can't seem to kill the guy he's fallen for. The tone of the book should be gritty yet upbeat apocalyptic. The ending will be a knockout when the demon hunters realize Baby is the demon and they have to kill him so he doesn't kill others.
Now for one to two paragraphs describing how my novel fits the LOCK system. Lead, Objective, Conflict, Knock-out.
I really think the middle of the novel is where I'm having my trouble. Hopefully this course will help me write things out. Baby is a character that has been with me for such a long time. He sort of slunk out of the shadows one afternoon and sat quietly watching everyone and taking them all in before he emerged as a first form character. I had no idea who he was or what he wanted or even anything about him. At the point Baby was born, I was originally writing Maki with another character named Ferdinand and before him, I'd written him with Saint Clair, a character I've almost entirely written out of the Chronicles. Ferdinand ended up leaving Maki for one of his students and the pair of them ran off to New Orleans to rebuild, leaving Maki to piece together a broken heart and go back to what he does best: studying and hunting.
I've always had trouble, as far as this story goes, in breaking it down into bite-sized chunks. I'm trying to tell THE WHOLE THING all at once instead of breaking it up onto books. If I tried to write the entire chronicles as one book, they'd never be able to bind it and people wouldn't read it. I'd be publishing a gay War and Peace. No one would make it through save the resolute because it would be too much, too dense and freaking BORING.
I think for this book, the main conflicts are going to be Baby against himself dealing with his past and his mother and all the crap that happened with her. I think the external conflicts are going to be the police and the demon hunting crew that comes in. He always has to avoid cops being a hooker, but adding the stress of a demon hunter he ends up falling for is going to be the kick in the pants. Baby doesn't WANT to be committed. He honestly ENJOYS being a hooker. SO it's going to be a big mess he has to sort out and it's not going to sort itself into one neat book. I want things like that to carry over into future books, but his main conflict in this book should probably be just coming to grips with the fact that he is a demon and it is NOT separate from himself. He's also got to come to grips with the fact he is in love with Maki and Maki IS right for him. Hell, there might even be conflicts with an age difference depending on what happens. Baby originally met Maki when he was fifteen. Maki would NOT WOULD NOT do anything sexual with anyone considered a minor because he wouldn't want to risk legal action. So... problems.
And there I go again, trying to make things more complicated than they have to be. I think I need to move a little further into the study course.