Archive for the ‘Novel’ Category

A Three-Act Ouline

This is the three-act character arc & story structure that I’ve been using, boiled down from many online sources. It is now packaged in my template for creating new scripts, stored under the handy research folder in Scrivener–but I figured I’d share it here for posterity. Please comment with any notes, or suggestions for alterations.

This is a pretty standard formula. If you run through any major Hollywood movie, you can map it pretty much directly to this set:

  • ACT 1 – Introduction, contentment
    • Introduce protagonist who will resist change (inner conflict), being perfectly content—or at least having no reason or will to change
  • Plot Point 1 – Event that throws the character’s life off balance.
    • Surprise shifts the story in a new direction
    • Reveals the protagonist’s life will never again be the same
    • Introduces an obstacle, which forces the protagonist to deal with something he/she would normally avoid
  • ACT 2 – Emotional Journey
    • Challenges — the protagonist struggles toward the goal/McGuffin
    • Conflict! – Each conflict appears and resolves to move the story forward
    • Inner and Outer conflicts, working together, alternating between hope and despair/disappointment
    • External conflicts seem solvable then insurmountable, then solvable.
    • Get into trouble. Raise the stakes. The character will make bad decisions.
    • Ends with the hero’s dark moment—utterly beaten, abandoned, all hope of achieving the goal is lost
  • Plot Point 2 – Throw the story in an unexpected direction, allowing the goal to be reachable
    • Rally the troops, head for the goal
  • Act 3 – Resolution
    • Draw upon new strengths, realized by lessons learned in overcoming Act 2 conflicts
    • Obtain the McGuffin / Achieve the goal.
  • Denouement
    • Wrap it up
    • Show the character’s change
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Insects: Excerpt from a novel in progress

The air is humid. I run and the wind screams passed my ears like a whistle full of steam. There is no direction but forward, like I’m shot from the belly of a plane, face-first and fearless. There is no turning back, no resistance to the inevitable. My legs begin to feel fluid, elastic. I fold into my torso, triggering the wheels in my kneecaps, elbows and wrists. Bending lower my kneewheels hit first, followed by my banded and wheeled hands. The elbows catch the ground simply as a navigational aid, bouncing on and off as needed. The ground flow is slightly uneven and the momentum of my fall leaves me with the need to continue rolling over onto my back. With a simple twist of my shoulders, I tilt and the sensors in my body armor eject wheels out from my shoulder blades, moving my kneewheels down to the heels and projecting a ferrofluid bearing helmet over my scalp. I always feel like closing my eyes for a second or two when I enter this position at such velocity. It’s a long time pleasure that I grant myself every chance I get. Just feeling the motion of the road under my body, I almost drift asleep. But the momentum continues. As the road approaches a right hand turn, I rotate and shoot my left hand out at the ground, gripping tight, pushing off, my legs go over head and for an instant I’m gliding with so much speed, upside down, watching the pedestrians in there civil suits, scornfully bemoaning my invasion in their walk space.
“Watch it there Insect!” One shouts.

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