This week we're looking at: Conflict 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.