The 3-Act Structure: In Detail

In order to utilize the 3-Act Structure efficiently, there is a need for a systematic sequence of elements to be followed that carries the story forward.  In the 3-Act Structure, each act has some particular story moves and by following these particular set of acts, you can rest easy that there will be no place for errors in your story.

If this structure is new to you and you’re wondering about what the hell it is, then check out the first part of this article- The 3-Act Structure: Introduction.

Here’s a list of the 3 biggest advantages of using this structure:

  1. It helps you to stay connected to the theme/idea/plotline of the story.
  2. It helps you to look at your story from a broader and better perspective.
  3. It helps you to recognize the unwanted elements in your story and helps you in cleaning up your story.

Here’s a chart that I made which will give you the gist of this structure.

3-AS by Heena Rathore P. (All rights reserved. Please contact the author before using this image.)

3-AS by Heena Rathore P. (All rights reserved. Please contact the author before using this image.)

ACT-I

Introduction

  • Introduction to the MC(s)
  • Introduction and laying the foundation of the fictional world (in case of Fantasy)
  • An introduction of the circumstances surrounding the MC and the secondary characters.
  • An introduction of the main relationships.
  • Introducing the main hook of the book.
  • An introduction to the conflict.
  • Establishment of the main relationships that were introduced earlier.
  • Introducing the antagonist (or, at least, hint stuff about him/her.)

ACT-II

1) Complication

  • Elaborate the conflict by making more difficult and dangerous.
  • Introduce a backstory through flashbacks or an old memory (or in any way you want) in relation to the conflict.
  • Make the MC solve/fight the conflict in his own way.
  • Keep the antagonist in motion. Make him do something. Anything. Don’t leave him out otherwise the plot will get boring.

2) Destruction

  • Destroy the MC physically and/or emotionally after he tries to solve/fight the conflict.
  • This part should be the lowest point in his life.
  • Make sure to make it look like there’s no way out.

ACT-III

Resolution

  • Show MC getting over his fears and disappointment (add a convincing source of motivation.)
  • Defeating the antagonist or being defeated himself (whatever suits your stories.)
  • Make sure to clean up- explain anything that needs an explanation. Do not leave any loose ends.

So, these are the 3 Acts explained to the best of my knowledge. There are innumerable variants of the 3-Act Structure but this is the one that I follow. It’s my own version and it works beautifully for me. I hope that it will help you as much as it for me. I wrote my first novel, Deceived, using this method and, therefore, I trust it completely.

I’d like to conclude by giving you a small advice- 50% to 75% is the mark where most of the stories go weak. So, pay special attention to the 2nd part of Act-II, i.e., the Destruction part.

What about you? Have you ever tried the 3-Act Structure?
Leave a comment below and I promise to get back to you ASAP.


 

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

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7 Comments on “The 3-Act Structure: In Detail

  1. Pingback: All About First Drafts – Heena Rathore P.

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