Questions tagged [3-acts]

This tag should be used for questions about the "Three acts" structure commonly used in fiction that consists of the Setup, the Confrontation and the Resolution. Questions with this tag should deal with common ways of implementing the structure in their own writing and for example planning how to realize this structure.

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4 answers
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Confused about motive and goal of protagonist

I'm outlining a story and am all confused about motive and goal of my protagonist. She has been brought up to believe that she is weak and easily controlled. She yearns to teach her children to be ...
2 votes
3 answers
203 views

Can the villain be introduced too late?

An important aspect of my story is the dread of my villain. He is slowly built up throughout the story, with a bunch of characters here and there talking of the terror he inflicts upon the world. ...
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0 votes
1 answer
80 views

Is it permissible to have a non-linear narrative in a three act structure?

Would I be breaking any rules, literary conventions or be doing something that is wrong or redundant as a narrative technique?
2 votes
1 answer
254 views

How to start a story after the inciting incident?

My novel starts with the three heroes joining a cattle drive. When they talk among themselves, it's obvious that they have some kind of hidden agenda. We'll learn more about thier secret mission over ...
12 votes
7 answers
3k views

Magic is the twist

It feels silly to say, but I've got myself into a bit of a bind of a side project. In a three-act structure (not what everyone uses, but a good reference point) you generally need to set up all ...
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4 votes
4 answers
413 views

From reactive to proactive; When should the protagonist change tack?

In my exploration of story structure, I have encountered some conflicting advice. In some instances, it has been suggested that the midpoint of a story represents the moment that the protagonist ...
6 votes
2 answers
366 views

Is starting In Media Res compatible with a Three-Act Structure?

I have a story in mind which I am confident will fit a three-act structure very well. However, I am uncertain about the exposition that I have been writing, as it feels a bit stifled, almost as though ...
7 votes
2 answers
238 views

Abandoning the Ordinary World

As I understand it, when considering the Three-Act Structure, the first half of Act One prior to the Inciting Incident is used to show the reader the 'Ordinary World'. In the story I am working on, I ...
3 votes
1 answer
1k views

The three acts and their relative length

Let's take for granted that the 3 acts structure is relevant and exists. This, of course, is an assumption. How the three acts relate with the length of the novel? In a standard book - let's say 50k ...
5 votes
1 answer
118 views

Turning away from the 3-act structure - what guides my pacing now?

Not all stories follow a 3-act structure. As an example, Les Misérables is rather episodic in its nature: first there's the story of Bishop Myriel and how he meets Jean Valjean, then there's Fantine's ...
4 votes
3 answers
601 views

Introducing a character in the third act?

I'm well into the third act of my novel and I'm introducing a new character that will play a part in the ending and an even bigger part in the roughly sketched sequel I have in mind. Now, I'm pretty ...
19 votes
10 answers
6k views

Is it time to start closing up my novel?

I realize this may be a duplicate question. I've seen, for reference [ How long can a first novel be? ] yet I think my situation is a little more specific. I find myself in a similar situation. My ...
7 votes
4 answers
618 views

Respecting classic dramatic structure in a documentary

I'm planning on shooting a documentary on a potentially important shift in a friend's life. In an attempt to educate myself a little bit before shooting the events, I'm reading about the classic ...
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14 votes
6 answers
6k views

My readers are losing interest halfway through. What is a list of possible remedies?

I see a pattern among my readers, specifically where they tend to stop reading - it is about 2/3 through the story, during "Act 2." A few readers push through to the end and say they are ...
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8 votes
4 answers
2k views

Skipping the first act?

In traditional story structure theory, the ACT 1 is made to set up the world and host the inciting incident, the ACT 2 is made for the main quest and sequence of obstacles, and ACT 3 is made for the ...
  • 3,827
22 votes
10 answers
7k views

Act 3 totally broken...keep writing?

I'm ready to enter the final act, Act 3, of my (first big) story and by now I'm pretty sure I'll have to rewrite 50-70% in ACT 1 and 2. I outlined the whole story but it is clear that my main hero ...
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3 votes
3 answers
265 views

What is the meaning of the dictum that the third act should contain the greatest crisis?

I am working on a screenplay in which the protagonist has to surmount a crisis in each of the three acts. That is, a physical crisis in Act I, a social crisis in Act II, and a psychological crisis in ...
  • 4,375
3 votes
7 answers
598 views

Three Act Structure - How do I include it?

I've been writing for four years without knowledge of the three act structure. When I discovered it about a year ago, I therefore had no room for it in my writing process, mainly because I had ...
10 votes
7 answers
4k views

Do Novels follow a 3 Act/2 Plot Point structure like most Movie Scripts?

Many Movie scripts use a Structure where there are 3 Acts (Setup, Climax, Resolution) with 2 Plot Points (end of Act 1 and end of Act 2) (Three Act Structure) I wonder if there are standards for ...
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