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Three-Act Structure

A classic way of Writing a book.

Act I: introduction before we move on in the story, present the problem Act II: wrestle with the problem Act III: solve the problem

Between act I->II and II->III there are 'doors', one way choices that the lead is pushed through, that he cannot return from, that move the story into the next act.

In Harry Potter, Act I->II is when he learns he is a wizard and goes to Hogwarts. II->III is when he goes through the literal door into the chamber of secrets (and is literally unable to return!)

In the Hobbit, Act I->II is when Frodo sets off on the journey

The most important thing in act I is to make us care about the character. We also introduce the world, the opposition, the tone of the book. At the end of act I (the door) something disturbs their normal world (American Gods - meeting Wednesday on the plane)

Act II is a series of confrontations with the opposition.

Note that the move between I and II usually happens very early (before 1/5th of the book), to avoid dragging.

(see Write Great Fiction - Plot & Structure)

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Last modified 2019-06-26 Wed 15:50. Contact