On Structuring Acts

Last night, after a long day of writing and revising an outline, I printed off the work’s status quo and shoved it in my briefcase/bag-thing. It takes about an hour to get to work by subway and train, and there’s time that’s well spent doing something productive. 🙂

As I looked at what I had, as I made notes on a notepad about moving a plotline ahead and roughed out a scene, I made a shocking realization.

I’d somehow set myself up with a four-act structure.

I blame decades of watching Doctor Who.

There is Cliffhanger, Cliffhanger, Cliffhanger, End.

I didn’t plan it that way. I noticed, in writing the outline, that the second act seemed really long. Maybe I was just being overly detailed, I thought. Maybe I’m just being wordy.

No, about midway through, there’s a dramatic rise, the plot turns, and it sets the stage for the next major plot turn, a turn that then takes the story to its conclusion.

Four acts. Not three. Like a classic Doctor Who story. Only, without all the pointless running around in the third act to pad the thing out. 😉

It’s now just a matter of getting this finished up.

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