So I'm a fan of surprise twists, particularly "no, the bad guy isn't dead yet" endings. Heck, I even like, "no, he still isn't dead yet" endings. But I wonder how much is too much...
In all my Act3s, I follow classic structure. The hero(es) confront the villain for the grand finale. Everything falls apart/doesn't go according to plan, and there's that all-is-lost moment, then Huzzah! Good triumphs.
For my latest WIP, I decided to extend that a bit...
Act 1 has the problem presented to the heros. Then the reader follows the heros and villain, alternating perspective as they inevitably head for a showdown in
Act 2, where the villain strikes viciously. But instead of facing off and being defeated, the heroes simply get there too late, and the villain escapes.
There's more building-to-a-climax/preparation from both sides.
Then in Act3, I squeeze it all together:
Good guys confront bad guy. Plan fails.
Good guys regroup and confront bad guy again.
Plan fails again. All is lost moment comes along.
Good guys finally win.
I like the ending, but I wonder if that's too much for a reader, compressed into the finale. How many times can the heroes think they've won, find out they didn't, then think they've won again?
Does this work? Or do I have to reduce my word count?