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4 Reasons Authors Mess Up the End of Act 2
Episode 3527th September 2022 • Writing Break • America's Editor
00:00:00 00:12:22

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This episode is filled with good news, including a big win for authors, a new program for debut authors, and a new feature on Spotify. We also review four reasons you might be getting in your own way when writing the Epiphany at the end of Act 2.

Music licensed from Storyblocks:

“More Jam Please” by Raighes Factory

“Italian Romance” by Keith Anthony Holden

“Warm and Cozy” by New Library Sounds

“Boccherini Minuet” by Bobby Cole

“Magic” by Humans Win


Rosemi Mederos:

Ciao a tutti. This episode is filled with good news, including a big win for authors. We also review four reasons you might be getting in your own way when writing the Epiphany at the end of Act 2.

The bookstore we are visiting today is also a cafe and wine shop, so let’s head there first.

odo. This shop was founded in:

They also have a large reading room that serves as a place for author events, concerts, and workshops. When there is no event going on in the reading room, you’ll find patrons quietly reading or studying.

I’ve reserved a cafe table for us, so let’s place our order and get into the latest publishing news.

In April I told you that authors were once again calling for Amazon to change its ebook return policy. Many people take advantage of Amazon’s lenient refunds and return policy for ebooks, which ends up costing authors money. The Authors Guild offered several solutions to Amazon, and there was an online petition.

Well, you did it. Amazon has confirmed that it will change its e-book return policy. Customers will no longer be able to return books with just the click of a button within 7 days of purchase unless less than 10% of the book has been read.

If more than 10% of the book has been read, there will be a form available to submit for a return, which will be reviewed and might still be rejected.

Nicely done, everyone.

Poets and Writers, one of the largest nonprofit literary organizations in the USA, is launching a publicity incubator for debut authors called Get the Word Out. This program will provide “expert advice and peer support to authors who might not otherwise have access to these resources.”


Beginning in June of 2023, bookstores and comic book shops will be able to order titles from the frontlist and backlist of Dark Horse Comics direct from Penguin Random House Publishers Services. Currently, stores have to purchase Dark Horse Comics’s manga, graphic novels, and comic book periodicals through Diamond Comic Distributors, which is a wholesale distributor.

Diamond will still be available as a wholesale option, and Penguin Random House will soon be available as a direct market option.

I told you last week that Spotify will be offering audiobooks to its customers, and that tool actually went live the day of that episode. Here are the ins and out of it.

You do not need a Spotify Premium account to access or purchase an audiobook, which means that audiobooks are not included with any subscriptions. They are available as a one-time purchase item, and you can pay with the credit or debit of your choice. So, if you are a Premium member, it does not automatically charge the card that pays your Premium account.

Right now, the audiobooks can only be purchased in the Spotify Web Player, but you can listen in the app once you’ve made a purchase or, as Spotify says, “once you’ve unlocked it.”

If you are on a family plan, the Spotify account you use to make the purchase is the only account that will have access to that audiobook. That means your reading privacy is protected, but that also means you need to make sure you’re logged into your child’s account if you want to purchase a book for them.

Currently, audiobooks are only available to US customers (sorry, everyone), but the good news is you might be able to get your audiobook on Spotify. If your audiobook rights belong to a publisher, you’ll have to reach out to them. If you are a self-published author, the fastest and easiest way to make your audiobook available for sale on Spotify is through Findaway Voices.

Links to more information for this and all of these news stories can be found in the show notes of this episode and on

Also in the show notes is a link to new fall releases from self-publishers. There were too many for me to cover in one episode, so have a look while we transition to the reading room for today’s writing tips.

We are finally at the end of Act 2. Your protagonist has suffered a crisis, struggled, and now has an epiphany.

Like the Crisis, the Epiphany is an internal moment. Generally speaking, the Epiphany is brief. This is when the protagonist finally realizes their flaw, which the audience has known all along. The protagonist decides to change. This is a moment of self-realization, specifically about the flaw that has been hindering their progress throughout the book.

Note that if the story is a tragedy, none of these things happen in the Epiphany. Instead, whether or not the protagonist recognizes their flaw, they fail to change.

So, plan out the Epiphany just like you did the Crisis.

Write a single sentence that describes the Epiphany, then make a list of the scenes needed to get through the writing of the Epiphany, writing just enough words to remember what each scene is about.

Remember, the Epiphany is an internal moment, which means it does not involve plot.

In my experience, authors sometimes get in their own way when writing the Epiphany. Meet me on the Overthinking Couch for four reasons authors mess up the Epiphany. Maybe you can avoid the mistakes of those who came before you.

Authors sometimes drag out the Epiphany, which will upset readers. Sometimes authors think they need to explain in great detail what is going on internally at this point. If you’re doing this, it means one of four things:

You need to go back and revise earlier parts of your manuscript so that the moment of Epiphany is clearer to your audience. Perhaps your writing is too advanced for your intended audience, or perhaps you rushed through some parts and didn’t explain things well enough. That’s okay. It happens, and it can be fixed.

You are trying to use the moment of Epiphany for something else, such as lecturing about the state of the world, calling out injustices, or just flexing your amazing writing skills by writing unnecessary sentences. Resist the temptation, and stick to the brief internal moment.

You need to learn to trust your audience. Would they have made it this far in your book if they did not understand what the protagonist was going through? Might it be that your audience is smarter than you think?

You need to learn to trust yourself. You wrote a killer first and second act. The Epiphany came at the right moment. The audience gets it. It’s fine. Trust your writing.

The Epiphany, that moment when the protagonist realizes their flaw, is a moment of release for your audience. They might even cry out, “Finally!” Act 3 is next, revenge, retribution, reconciliation, that’s all coming up. For now, the protagonist is only realizing what the reader knew all along. Please don’t drag this out. If you keep it brief, you keep it interesting. As you know, we live by that motto here at Writing Break.

Next week, we begin Act 3. Until then, thanks for listening, and remember, you deserved this break.

If you would like us to visit your favorite independent bookstore, feature your favorite independent author (even if it’s you), or discuss something you’re overthinking about, please email me at

Thank you for making space in your mind for The Muse today.

Writing Break is hosted by America’s Editor and produced by Allon Media with technical direction by Gus Aviles. Visit us at or contact us at




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