My Three Act Structure

Structure in a story is like the structure in a house.  If you can see it, something terrible has happened.
Chuck Windig... I think. 
I'm also quoting from memory so it might not be.... let's just assume somebody said something like this at some point in time.

So... all hell is breaking loose in the story right now. 

The moment at the end of chapter 24 is what I like to call my 'Shit! Shit! Shit! Shit! Shit!!!!' moment.
It's that point in the story where everything appears to be on fire and our main characters are armed with a leaky squirt gun and dreams.

Like most authors, at least authors who are trying to write popular fiction, I follow a rough three act structure.  It's the formula about 99% of Hollywood movies and about 99.999% of fiction books use to tell a narative story.  And, if you remember your high school english class, it looks something like this...
And contains the three basic Acts.

Act I: The Exposition.  Intoduce characters and the first event that will set the characters loose on their journey.  Aka: The Inciting Incident.

Act II: The Setback.  Basically shit gets worse.

Act III: The Climax.  Everything comes to a head.  The hero wins. The subplots are resoved (falling action) and there was much rejoicing.


When I'm outlining a story, I work from a similar but looser and slightly skewed idea.

Everything looks crazier scrawled on notebook paper in sharpie.  I don't know why that is true but it is.

Act I, Shit, it's bad!:  My characters arrive on Titan with a goal in mind.  But the inciting event, the massacare at the spaceport rapidly adjusts their thinking.  What was supposed to be a nice, easy mission starts going to shit almost immediatly.

Act II: Fuck! We Made It Worse.  As I said in my last post, I like flawed characters.  And one of the best hallmarks for a good story is when you have compelling characters in a situation absolutely screwing the pooch.  It's on the same idea as the proverbial train wreck.  So in this stage I make sure that, whatever event has occured it has a lot to do with the characters.

In Saturinus, this is the first battle against the perfiduloi and the Corporation.

Act II.V: SHIT! SHIT! SHIT! SHIT! I also like the second act to end with a bang.   Literally in the case of Saturnius.  My thinking is that Act III should begin with the world on fire.

Act III: WE'RE ALL GONNA DIE!  Otherwise known as the climax.  Pretty self explainitory.  This is our hero's last ditch effort to keep the entire world from burning down.  Which usually leads to...

It's Mostly Fine Everybody.  Mostly...: As you will find out in a ten chapters.  (Or as you already know if you bought the book. )   Now available on Amazon.

Anyway, my stories don't always end in a nice, neat little package.  Not a cliffhanger ending per se.  Just kinda... Where do we go from here?

So that's where we are headed.  Enjoy the ride.


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