Monday, October 27, 2014


This week we're looking atConflict within the structure of a  Story 

The Basic Three Act Structure
The simplest building blocks of a good story are the Three Act Structure. Separated by Plot Points, its Act 1 (Beginning), Act 2 (Middle), and Act 3 (End) refer not to where in time in the story they lie but instead fundamental stages along the way.

  • In the Beginning you introduce the reader to the setting, the characters and the situation (conflict) they find themselves in and their goal. Plot Point 1 is a situation that drives the main character from their "normal" life toward some different conflicting situation that the story is about. 

    • Great stories often begin at Plot Point 1
    • thrusting the main character right into the 
    • thick of things, but they never really leave out
    •  Act 1, instead filling it in with back story along the way.

  • In the Middle the story develops through a series of complications and obstacles, each leading to a mini crisis. Though each of these crises are temporarily resolved, the story leads inevitably to an ultimate crisis—the Climax. As the story progresses, there is a rising and falling of tension with each crisis, but an overallrising tension as we approach the Climax. The resolution of the Climax is Plot Point 2.

  • In the End, the Climax and the loose ends of the story are resolved during the Denouement. Tension rapidly dissipates because it's nearly impossible to sustain a reader's interest very long after the climax. Finish your story and get out.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014


Writing Fiction (Transformation) -  This Checklist compliments Structure of the process of change.:

1.  Does plot of transformation deal with of change as protagonist journeys through one of the many stages of life?
2.  Does the plot isolate a portion of the protagonist's life that represents the period of change, moving from 
one significant character state to another?

3.  Does story concentrate on the nature of

change and how it affects the protagonist from
 start to end of the experience?

4.  Does first dramatic phase relate the transforming incident propelling protagonist into a crisis, starting process of change?
5.  Does the second dramatic phase depict the effects of the
transformation?  Does it concentrate on the self-examination and
character of the protagonist?

6.  Does the third dramatic phase contain a clarifying incident

representing the final stage of the transformation?  Does the character understand the true nature of the experience and how it has affected him?  Does growth and understanding occur?

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Writing Fiction - Transformation

This is an occasional blog with tips for writers of fiction:

'Transformation' in fiction is the process of change in the protagonist as they journey through one of the stages of their life.
The plot isolates a portion of the protagonist's life that represents that period of change, moving from one significant character state to another.

Some "standard" points of change: 
becoming adult; war and combat; 

search for identity; divorce and 
other family shifts; facing violence;
 deaths; and learning something new 
remember Pygmalion?).
But the large-scale change is only one kind.  Consider small events that may build and shake lives...

Phase 1 - an incident that starts a change in the protagonist's life.  Be sure your protagonist is obvious before the change.
    Let the ripples of the incident stretch out...There are lessons to be learned, judgments to be made, insights to be seen.
Phase 2 – show the full effects of the transforming incident.
What hidden parts of the main character are stirred up in the wake of the storm?
Phase 3 - show (often via another incident) the results of
the transformation.  What does the protagonist learn?
In fiction it's common for a protagonist to learn lessons other than what he expected to learn.  The real lessons are often the hidden or unexpected. Expectations are baffled; illusions are destroyed.  Reality overtakes fantasy.

Use above and see how it changes your manuscript. In a few days, I'll post the Checklist that goes with this.