I admire John Truby. He’s a sreenwriter, director and teaches screenwriting. He’s consulted on over (it says) 1,000 scripts.
But when he starts bad mouthing the standard three-act structure just to sell his own classes, I take exception.
He’s written a piece at Raindance.org that says, essentially, that adhering to the three-act structure will kill your writing. Actually, the title of his article/post/advertisement is
Doesn’t mince words, does he?
At the bottom of the piece there’s the obligatory “John Truby has brought his acclaimed “Anatomy Of Story Class” to Raindance London since 1995.”
And if you want to take the enlightened view of story anatomy it will set you back £393.60
The thing is, Truby’s twenty-two building blocks map extremely well to the three act structure.
He writes as if a writer following the three act structure only has two pivot points. That they have one-dimensional characters. That such a writer, limiting themselves to a three-act structure, exhibits no imagination and less willpower. Why go with a mere three acts when John Truby can show you twenty-two actual building blocks?
So we’re 100% clear, here, I think his building blocks are excellent. I don’t want any of you readers to think I’m slamming them.
What I’m slamming is the disingenuous method he uses to sell his £393.60 course.
I talk (actually, I write) about structure at a high level here. I cover the setup, the inciting incident, first and second plot points a couple of pinch points, the midpoint, the “all is lost” prior to the second plot point and the resolution. I also talk about the way the character’s motivation changes from that of an “orphan” to someone you is reacting to the events around them, on to the hero on the attack and finally to the martyr stage.
And I’m a rank amateur.
If you look closely at Truby’s building blocks, you won’t find much new. IT’ll be presented in a new way, and maybe different words are used, but it’s still a three act structure.
Hell, I even suggest you buy one of his books. He has many good points.
But saying that the three-act structure will kill your writing isn’t one of them.
Oh yeah. Monkey nuts.