6 Steps to Compiling Your Novel's Three-Act Outline
Chapter 2 “Creating a Plot” – Section 2 “Compiling a Three-Act Outline”
With Links to Supplementary Material
Part 2 of 2
Joseph Blake Parker's Very Original and Super Complex Three-Act Outline Template
(Not really—this is all standard and basic stuff with no original thought other than my self-indulgent title, and the explanations. I honestly only made this because I couldn't find one online to share with you peeps, and didn't want to mess up the structure of my article by adding it there. Obsessive Compulsive Personality moment, I guess. Please keep in mind that there are many theories as to a proper Three-Act Structure; this one is just a hybrid of all the things I thought most comprehensive.)
Instructions: Delete all the explanations that are written in italics and replace them with the events/plot-points that occur within your story.
----- Plot Premise Goes Here -----
Act I (Setting up the Story)
-This is what happens so that your Protagonist's world is forever changed, so that they must decide to act.
First Turning Point (Call to Action)
-This is an event that is even more life-changing (but related to) than the Inciting Incident, as is what causes the protagonist must decide how they are going to react to the Inciting Incident.
Act II (Confronting the Antagonists—feel free to sprinkle fights and confrontations all through this Act)
-Your protagonist tries to achieve his/her goal, but is not skilled or capable enough to do so. Fails, but grows from failure, and begins to seek help or to strengthen him/herself. Things begin to gradually get better/worse, depending upon what sort of story you are telling, and upon the natural consequences of the protagonist's actions.
First Pinch Point/Main Confrontation
-Half-way through Act II, the main antagonist will do something very dark or critical, forcing the protagonist to react. This is the main confrontation. For example, telling the hero that if they do not give up, they will blow up the city. This is to show your readers the power set against the protagonist.
-The protagonist reacts to the first pinch point, and confronts the antagonist. The protagonist fails.
-The hero deals with the consequences of failure.
Second Pinch Point
-The power of the antagonist is shown again—causing the hero to feel forced to action, even as they deal with their previous failure and its consequences.
Crisis/Second Turning Point
-The protagonist has a new or renewed Call to Action. They realize that even with everything that has happened, they must act.
Act III (Resolution)
-the protagonist again rises to the challenge, with a renewed sense of self and self-discovery.
-the protagonist overcomes or is overcome by the antagonist, and the story is concluded.
-Just like the Beginning/Prologue, establish how your world and characters are changed by the events of the story. What is considered the norm after the story concludes?
While the explanations and final list are of my original writing, as was the idea to create a Three-Act Outline Template, the data was inspired, taught, and defined by the following sources. I highly recommend further learning on the topic from their websites.
Wikipedia “Three-act structure”
Janice Hardy “How to Plot With the Three-Act Structure”
Kimberley Magain “Applying Negative Space to Storytelling (fiction)”
Karen Woodward “Using Pinch Points To Increase Narrative Drive”
Feel free to comment with other suggested resources. Any questions about writing? Things you want me to discuss? Comment or send me a message and I will be glad to reply or feature my response in a later article. If you enjoy my reviews, please feel free to share my articles with friends, add it to your favorites, become a watcher on my page, or send send a llama my way!
Originally posted at www.facebook.com/JosephBlakePa… (Feel free to “Like” and subscribe)