The three act structure has been around since Aristotle, and it’s a fairly well accepted fact that a story that doesn’t follow any one of the many versions of three-act structure is a poorly written story.
This applies to movies, plays or novels. Ya gotta have the three acts. I’m not going to belabour it too much. That’s what this page is for.
What I would like to talk about is a new way of looking at the three acts. New for me, anyway.
It’s called the “mini movie” method. The story is broken into eight (roughly) equal length movies, each with their own purpose. I know. Some of you are saying “Eight? I just got used to three and now you’re pushing eight?”
There’s still three acts. And the eight mini movies fit into that three act structure quite well.
And as always, not only does each mini movie need to have a purpose, each scene needs to have a purpose. If the scene doesn’t have a purpose, erase it. It will slow down the story and piss off your reader.
A great number of you have probably stop reading by this point. “Formulaic” you say. “Write-by-numbers”. “Not Original.”
Well, I respectfully disagree. The graphic above isn’t a story. It’s a framework for a story. It removes originality in exactly the same way blueprints remove originality from a house. (It is also a framework for character development.)
Build a house without blueprints and it’ll be a mess.
Write a story without blueprints and nobody will want to read it.
Next book you read, or movie you watch, see if you can pick out these elements. They’re there.