Tuesday, September 22, 2009


What is Plot?

This is what happens within the individual scenes and the overall story.

One way to simplify this is to break it down into three acts. (There are other methods.)

Act 1 should include introducing the main characters, their goals, conflict, and setting. There should be plot conflict (What the character wants and what’s in their way), character conflict (Why they want what they want), and stakes (what will happen if character does not succeed).

Act 2 should show the stakes increasing (now instead a trophy, the character needs the prize money to pay the mortgage his mother didn’t pay), and decrease the characters ability to be able to obtain goal(perhaps the character is entering a car race and he finds out that the engine has to be overhauled before he can race, this puts the pressure one.)

Act 3 is where it all comes to a close. The character either reaches or fails to reach his goal. She faces the consequences of the outcome. All loose ends are brought to some sort of closure.

I’m not sure how many writers draft their stories using this method or any other structure. I feel more comfortable with a free flowing method. Once the story is down on paper, I may check to see if the ingredients are there, but it’s usually apparent when they are not. The story will not feel complete.

Please share your thoughts on structuring your story’s plot.


Terry W. Ervin II said...

I've heard talk about the three act method of writing, but it always seemed to me to be more related to script writing.

I think it's important to know where to start a story and its ending, and the complications/conflict along the way before one begins to write a story or novel. At least that's what works for me.

Anonymous said...

Terry, thank you for sharing your thoughts.

MysteryKnitter said...

I've heard of this.

Cher Green said...


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