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The 3 Act Structure

Discussion in 'Creative Zone' started by Getus, Oct 20, 2018.

  1. Getus

    Getus The Senate

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    As every writer knows, or should know, is that every story has three acts.
    • Act I - Setup: Exposition, Inciting Incident, Plot Point One
    • Act II - Confrontation: Rising Action, Midpoint, Plot Point Two
    • Act III - Resolution: Pre Climax, Climax, Denouement

    These acts are important to putting a story together and is necessary to introduce the reader to certain parts of the world. For example, Act 1 is the setup act where the author introduces the reader to the world, the threat (antagonist) and the first major plot point.

    In Harry Potter the first act in the Philosopher's Stone introduced Harry, and by proxy, the reader to both the muggle and magical worlds, the idea of Voldemort and the prejudice Harry would have to deal with and the mystery of the stone.

    The other two acts are just as important, if not more so. The second act (which should be the longest) focuses on the threat presented to the protagonist and how it affects them, as well as the steps they're taking to stop it. Which directly leads to the third and final act, Resolution. This act is the finale, the antagonist should be defeated in this act and any loose ends tied up (unless they're being left for a sequel), it is important that this act is done right so that the reader isn't left dissatisfied, they should always want more.

    There is so much more to this structure that I recommend you read up on, even if you're already knowledgeable on it. Always worth learning more eh? Might help you get that plot point you're missing.


    Question time:

    Did you know about the three act structure before reading this?

    When you, that's right you who's reading this, are planning out your story how long and filled do you tend to make your acts? For me I tend to make act one short, possibly ten chapters at most, before kicking into the main conflict.

    How filled do you tend to make your second act, is it just the main threat or do you have multiple sub plots?
     
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  2. HiddenLore

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    I think that I had heard of this before, I have taken a few creative writing classes in my time, but I rarely think about it. Interestingly I am working on a comic story and I decided to divide up the pages into acts, mainly to give me check points to work to, and they match basically what you have here. This indicates to me that the act structure is pretty ingrained into the psyche, which is kind of cool.
     
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  3. Gazi

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    I've definitely heard of the 3 act structure, but I don't know if I follow it in my writing. If I do, it's definitely unintentional. I just write and let my story go where it feels the most natural. If it follows a 3 act structure, fine, if it doesn't, that's fine too. No big deal.
     
  4. SyWry

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    I've hear about it before but forgotten about its existence until you've brought it up. Upon reflection of my work, I realize that I do kind of follow the three act system but in a way that fits the world I've created. For example, exploration and mystery is a huge part of my world and trying to figure out everything is part of the battle. That being said, my introduction into the world is stretched pretty far into the story as new elements get introduced and new places discovered. Due to the length of the introduction, it does take a while to get through the beginning and its something I'm working to not make boring. This is just for one story that I'm currently working on. For the most part, the introductions aren't that long.

    As for the other acts, I do like to have subplots run the show, subplot that build towards the main climax in some way or another. Generally I like to use these subplots to have character development even if nothing is furthering the plot.
     
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  5. Wings

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    The three act structure is pretty much foolproof if you’re trying to write an adventure novel or a journey fanfiction. However, I have kind of split my current fic into around 5 sections because it’s based on USUM and it’s hard to cram the plot into three acts when there’s four islands. So right now it consists of a beginning, the (Melemele Arc) a middle (Akala and Aether Paradise), a climax (Ula’ula and Ultra Space), then an ending, as well as a post-game story in Ultra Space. Separating my fanfiction into sections has helped me because I anticipate it being at least 60 chapters.
     
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  6. Wolf Expert

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    I'm sure I've heard of this at some point, but I'm not sure many of my classes have really stuck to these rules before. Oddly enough though, I can easily put the story I'm working on into the 3 act structure. It was entirely unintentional, but it works. So I don't tend to do it on purpose, usually when planning out a story, I make a bullet point list of important events that take place that I might edit over time if I change my mind on something.

    I guess right now I'm near the end of act 2. Act 3 is probably going to be pretty short comparatively, mostly action driven compared to a lot of the world building done in the first 2 acts.
     
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