Narrative fiction divides a story into three acts: the Setup, the Confrontation and the Resolution. Tell me more
|1||Setup (Act 1)||The first act is usually used for exposition, to establish the main characters, their relationships and the world they live in. Later in the first act, a dynamic, on-screen incident occurs, known as the inciting incident, or catalyst. During the first act, the character arc is established or re-established for at least one character, the main character (the protagonist), within the exposition (noument) of the environment including relationships to other characters. Tell me more|
|2||Inciting Incident (Middle of Act 1)||The inciting incident confronts the main character (the protagonist), and whose attempts to deal with this incident lead to a second and more dramatic situation, known as the first plot point.|
|3||First Turning Point (End of Act 1)||The first plot point (a) signals the end of the first act, (b) ensures life will never be the same again for the protagonist and (c) raises a dramatic question that will be answered in the climax of the film.|
|4||Dramatic Question||As the story moves along, the plot usually progresses in such a way as to pose a yes or no question, the major dramatic question. This question must be answered in the climax of the story. The answer is often yes; no; maybe; yes, but…; or no, and what’s more…|
|5||Confrontation (Act 2)||During the second act, also referred to as “rising action”, the character arc develops as the protagonist attempts to resolve the problem initiated by the first turning point, only to discover ever-worsening situations, which often lead to the learning of new skills, the discovery of capabilities, and (sometimes late in the second act if at all) the raising of self-awareness.|
|6||Midpoint (Middle of Act 2)||The midpoint is when the protagonist changes from reactive to proactive.|
|7||Second Plot Point (End of Act 2)||Plot point 2 happens when your protagonist discovers something that allows him to finish his mission, or he thinks all is lost. The second (and final) turning point occurs when the protagonist confronts another major obstacle, marshals all remaining assets, and pushes forward towards the goal in a do-or-die confrontation with the antagonist.|
|8||Resolution (Act 3)||The third act features the resolution of the story and its subplots. During the third act, including the climax, “falling action” and resolution (denouement), the narrative arc is completed although the character arc typically is not.|
|9||Climax (Middle of Act 3)||The climax is the scene or sequence in which the main tensions of the story are brought to their most intense point and the dramatic question answered, leaving the protagonist and other characters with a new sense of who they really are. During the climax, because the main tensions of the story are brought to their most intense point and the dramatic question is answered, a character arc reaches a place where the character gains a new sense of who they are becoming.|
|10||Character Arc||As the plot and its subplots resolve, the character arc’s emphasis shifts from the learning of any new skills or the discovery of dormant capabilities to the awakening of a higher level of self-awareness, which in turn changes who the character is becoming.|
The simplest building blocks of a story are found in the basic Three Act Structure (which can be used for both screenplay and novels). Act 1 is the beginning, Act 2 is the middle, and Act 3 is the ending. The components in the Three Act Structure are basically fundamental stages along the way of a story. Tell me more
- Act 1 consists of the first quarter of the novel (or screenplay)
- Act 2 consists of the next two quarters of the novel (or screenplay)
- Act 3 consists of the final quarter of the novel (or screenplay)
What happens in Act 1?
Act 1 is usually called the setup, and the basic components in the first act are:
- Exposition — This is the part of the story that introduces the characters, their relationships to each other, and places them within a time and place (fictional or real).
- Main character — This is the character whose goals and desires result in actions that drive the story.
- Inciting incident/inciting event — This is the part of the story that sets the plot in motion.
- Plot point #1 — This is the part of the story that pushes the plot in a new direction and leads the story into Act 2.