NaNoWriMo prep time

Three Act Structure…

I have seen this before in tutorials and at authors talks. It’s one of those basic things you think you know but it doesn’t hurt to revisit.

I’ve written a story for the Ten Penners latest anthology and a fellow Penner suggested I look into Three Act Structure. I believe my story does have a ‘beginning’, ‘middle’ and ‘end’. I’m willing to expand my knowledge as writing is a continuous learning curve.

I received this blog post from a fellow blogger and thought it worth sharing:-

The Stages of Writing a Blog Post by Cristian Mihai
Here’s the secret to great writing according to Stephen King: Take out the bad parts. If this sounds like useless advice, you have yet to understand that great writing is all about rewriting. And you rewrite by taking out the words that aren’t necessary.

On the Three Act Structure here are a couple of articles I hope to help me revise my manuscript during NaNoWriMo. One of these is 2019 NaNoWriMo preparation article.

Blog > Book Writing Advice

The Three-Act Structure: How It Works, Examples, and Why It Is Right for You

Tonya ThompsonTonya Thompson
March 21, 2019 AEST

Tonya Thompson

You’ve often heard that the process of writing is formulaic. While it might be more complicated to apply a formula to a work of fiction, anyone who has studied how to write a five-paragraph essay understands how this happens.

The truth is that creating a plot in fiction is less about mathematics and more about understanding how stories have been told since the dawn of storytelling. While settings, characters and conflicts may change, the basic elements of a story—of a plot—are essentially the same, regardless of what the story is.

First, let’s cover a bit of terminology.

When we refer to three-act structure, we are referring to the substance of the story. The three parts (or acts) are easy:

  • Act 1: The beginning
  • Act 2: The middle
  • Act 3: The end

Think of each of these elements of structure as the levels of a home. They each make up an important part of the home (story) but there has to be a way to move from one level to the next. In the same sense, there have to be turning points in the plot that keep the story moving, and keep the characters walking up stairs to the next level. These turning points are what maintain a flow in the story, and keep your characters moving through the levels with the right intensity and direction.

The nine plot points of storytelling

So, within the turning points of each major act, we have nine total points to consider:

  1. Act 1 (Setup): Exposition
  2. Act 1 (Setup): Inciting Incident
  3. Act 1 (Setup): Plot Point One or The Point of No Return
  4. Act 2 (Confrontation): Rising Action
  5. Act 2 (Confrontation): Midpoint
  6. Act 2 (Confrontation): Plot Point Two
  7. Act 3 (Resolution): The Black Moment or Dark Night of the Soul
  8. Act 3 (Resolution): Climax
  9. Act 3 (Resolution): Denouement

In referring to fiction being formulaic, I’m referring to the fact that these plot points are the basis of every great story you’ve ever heard. Think of it as the beat to great storytelling. A character whose journey is well-crafted will move along to this beat and will change over the course of his or her movement.

Once you learn how to recognize these plot points and the three-act structure, go back and watch your favorite movie or read your favorite book and see if you can pinpoint each plot point mapped out within the story. If you come across a story that doesn’t clearly delineate each point, the beat will feel “off”.

I’ve often seen the number 7. The Black Moment in a book as the pivotal point in the story where the main character finds themselves in a bleak situation, or as one picture book author described in a talk ‘the blue page’. I’ve used this effectively in my science fiction novels and don’t mind being reminded that this can also work in short stories or any form of writing.


I teach writers how to make their stories matter by harnessing the power and psychology of storytelling, transforming their ideas into a masterpiece, and creating a lifestyle that makes their author dreams come true.

I love the three act story structure for so many reasons. First, because it’s tried and true. The more I study and psychoanalyze my favorite stories (and best-loved history-making stories) the more I discover an interesting commonality: they are share the same basic structure! The 3-act story structure makes room for character transformation and depth of meaning, which is the key ingredient to make a story memorable.

Three Act Story Structure post by Abbie

Not to mention, the 3-act story structure works with every single genre! So whether you’re outlining a cute contemporary like me or epic fantasy or paranormal or historical fiction – this structure is for you. I guarantee it will help you make your story matter by digging deep into your characters’ internal conflict and why everything that happens matters to them (and thus, matters to the reader.)

I’m so excited about today’s episode of WritersLife Wednesdays! We cover:

  • what the 3-act story structure is and why you should use it
  • why most story structures don’t work
  • what the structure looks like (with prompts!)
  • how I combine my character’s internal journey with the structure to create my first real outline!

Grab the template:


This is part of my NaNoWriMo preparation, I hope it helps you on the road to writing your novel. I’m editing this November and going back to basics helps me get my story in line. More tomorrow, happy writing and reading blog followers and friends. – Jill

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