3 act structure novel writing advice

When it comes to stress, an author on deadline has nothing on a thespian in the last week before an opening. Blessedly, the night before the first curtain rises the set is left dark, abandoned by tradition. This allows the cast and crew an opportunity to catch a collective breath before the new crisis that is opening night.

3 act structure novel writing advice

In fact, the "structure" that's being alluded to is actually the underlying theme. But what is a theme exactly, and how does working with one help you structure your story? This misconception is sometimes the result of structure's being taught by story analysts whose gifts lean more toward an ability to deconstruct the anatomy of an existing work, than in exploring the nature of what the author was attempting to express.

This can leave the student with a keen understanding of how a particular story was "assembled," while struggling with how to translate the lesson into completing his or her own work.

Although one might eventually begin to grasp the inner workings of structure by staring at the various lifeless parts of a work of art, there is perhaps a more direct approach.

Story structure actually has little to do with plot. But what is a theme exactly, and how does working with one help you structure your story?! Many books on writing speak of there being a dramatic problem at the heart of a story. In fact, there isn't one. Problems are solved, while dilemmas are resolved through a shift in perception.

The purpose of story is to reveal a transformation -- to show, through conflict and complication, the world in a new way. Einstein stated, "One cannot solve a problem at the same level of consciousness that created the problem.

Jimmy Stewart must leave Bedford Falls in order to have a wonderful life. King Lear must find a worthy heir by determining who loves him most.

Initially, these appear to be problems, but as the story progresses, we begin to see that solving one problem only leads to another, until eventually, the protagonist wakes up to the reality of his situation and realizes the fundamental flaw in his thinking, thus necessitating a shift in perception.

Every character in your story has a relationship to this central dilemma, whether you're aware of it or not. This is not accidental. You don't have to hope that you're doing it right.

Working with story structure is not about "getting it right. Focusing on your characters' desire or goal will lead you directly to the dilemma at the heart of your story. If all that happens in your story is that your protagonist achieves his goal, your reader will be disappointed.

The reader's interest lies not in the hero getting what he wants, but in getting what he needs. The dilemma lies in the protagonist's attempts to square these two opposing ideas.

Jimmy Stewart needs to understand that he already has a wonderful life. Lear needs to understand that truth does not lie in flattery. Writers tend to get stuck when they try to figure out their story.

Just as your protagonist is struggling with a dilemma, so are you. This is because the desire to write is the desire to evolve. At some point in the story usually the end of Act Twoyour protagonist discovers that what he is confronting is impossible to achieve, thus necessitating a surrender.

And because on some level you are the hero of your story, through the act of writing, you are going to experience a death of this old identity.

It's only through this dark night of the soul that your protagonist begins to reframe his relationship to his goal, thus making it possible to achieve it, if it still belongs in his life.Three act structure: How to write a satisfyingly structured novel First analysed by the Greek writer Aristotle more than 2, years ago, the three act structure still has relevance for writers today.

Act Two: Obstacles.

3 act structure novel writing advice

This is the meat and potatoes portion AND the most difficult part of writing a screenplay. Most mediocre and flawed screenplays are plagued by slow or meandering second acts. Keep in mind the main tension – and that your character should always be on the path to resolving that tension.

and that your character. Get to know the Three-Act structure which divides the story into three main parts: the very first line of the book introduced my Plot Point #1.

3 act structure novel writing advice

Does this mean I skipped writing Act I? No. I combined Acts I and II, layering them together. Corrine Jackson – Outlining a Novel in Three Acts – I. Love.

You. So. Much. For. Posting. This. Remember other options for structuring your novel. A three act novel is only one of the story structures your novel can use. Another is ‘The Hero’s Journey’. Based on the mythology studies of Joseph Campbell, this story structure has been especially popular .

Three Act Structure Novel Structure Story Structure Writing Resources Writing Tips Writing Lab Fiction Writing Writing Prompts Writing Help Forward Script reader Ray Morton explains the most common problem in spec scripts is a lack of proper dramatic narrative structure.

How to Use This Killer 3-Act Plot Structure: Writing Tips July 31, By Meghan Rogers 4 Comments Today I wanted to introduce you to my favorite plot structure–the 3-Act Character Arc and Story Structure.

Fiction University: How to Plot With the Three-Act Structure