Now, three act structure is not new – in fact, I feel like I may have been the last one to the party – but what kind of blogger would I be if I didn’t bandy my would-be revelation about like it’s as new as all those babies my Facebook friends keep having?
Three act structure is most common as a movie formula, which is one reason I never messed with it for novel-writing; I tend to write stories like I’m seeing them on a screen anyway (which isn’t necessarily best practice) and it’s a tough impulse to fight. I’ve posted before about the eight point arc structure and, while it is no doubt a solid set of bones to build on, it has its limits.
Historically eight-point has been my go-to when I get lost with my storyline, but during the week I had a very writerly conversation with my Dad about the three act as well as the foremost screenwriter who examined and popularized it, Syd Field. I decided to peep the deets and then gave it a test run – it’s simple enough that I was able to apply it with minimal tweaking to my own story and it wound up working a fair bit better than my usual eight point structure, which is comparatively much more rigid.
Studying my story’s Three Act version next to its Eight Point helped me see a few places that could be consolidated and tightened up plot-wise and it in general spruced up my whole approach. I even threw in some Hero’s Journey for good measure. Try it out and let me know how it goes!