Organize Your Story In Three Acts

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Organize Your Story In Three Acts

Storytellers have employed the three-act structure since its origins in ancient Greek drama, and Hollywood still uses it today as its standard. While it isn't the only way to successfully organize a story, it's a good place to start, particularly since studio executives pretty much expect it. And, once you have mastered the three-act structure, you'll be able to play with alternative structures much more convincingly.

The three-act structure is an organizational tool. Every good story has dramatic tension that happens at the right time and in the right places. Too little tension, and the story stalls. Too much tension, and you wind up overwhelming and confusing your audience. The three-act structure helps you map out the progression of tension from opening to inciting incident to climax and resolution in a coherent way.

Each of the acts has a specific job to do. You can think of it as setup, complications, and resolution. Or to put it another way, get your hero up a tree in the first act, throw progressively bigger rocks at him and force him further up the tree in the second, and let him climb down or shake him out of the tree in the third.

Let's take a closer look at the individual acts.



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