FIVE ACT STRUCTURE – based on character going from unconscious to conscious, or clueless to self-aware

astrology_chart_4I’ve been studying story structure and plot design lately and have come up with a five act structure that works for me.

My eyes were opened when I read James Scott Bell’s book, “Write Your Novel From The Middle: A New Approach for Plotters, Pantsers and Everyone in Between”.

I can see this being good for avoiding middle muddle and writer’s block.

So, without further ado, here it is:

FIVE ACT STORY STRUCTURE:

* MC = Main Character

ACT ONE = Unconscious Inaction (20%)
SETUP / HOOK / ESTABLISH EMPATHY
ESTABLISH WANT / “FLAW” / WHAT THEY CARE ABOUT / FEAR, CORE WOUND
DISTURBANCE, INCITING INCIDENT / DEFINE STORY PROBLEM
MENTOR(S) / ALLIES / REFUSAL / RELUCTANCE
FIRST DOORWAY / MAJOR COMPLICATION / ACTIVATES EXTERNAL GOAL (based on WANT)

ACT TWO = Unconscious Action (30%)
ENTERS STRANGE NEW WORLD (or strange part of old world)
MC REACTS TO CONLICTS, TROUBLES, TWISTS and TURNS
MAJOR REVERSAL / CRISIS / THEY’VE MADE THINGS WORSE

ACT THREE = Awakening (10%)
MIRROR MOMENT (from James Scott Bell) (MC looks within)
TENSION / REALIZATION / FINDS REAL NEED (as opposed to WANT)
“DEATH” EXPERIENCE, MUST SACRIFICE OLD UNCONSCIOUSNESS
2ND DOORWAY / MC DECIDES TO ACT / REDEFINES GOAL(S)

ACT FOUR = Conscious Action (20%)
DELIBERATE CONFLICTS / SPECIFIC GOALS
THE INTENSE MOMENT / FALSE CLIMAX / ANTAGONIST REVEAL
FINAL PIECE OF THE PUZZLE

ACT FIVE = Transformation Shown (20%)
FINAL PUSH
JAWS OF DEFEAT
VISIBLE TRANSFORMATION / MORAL CHOICE
FACES WORST FEAR / “FLAW” OVERCOME OR REDEEMED
CLIMAX
RESOLUTION, TIE UP THE STORY PROBLEM / FINAL SHOT

OCTOBER 23 ~ Writing With The Stars ~ daily astrology for writers

moonclouds_smallWe get all fired up in the morning as the Moon sextiles Mars in Sagittarius. We’re getting ready for BIG THINGS. We’re dreaming big dreams that just get bigger as the day progresses. By later afternoon, the Moon drops into Scorpio and meets the Sun in a partial solar eclipse with quintiles to Pluto in Capricorn and Jupiter in Leo. If that’s not the very best time to start a novel, I don’t know what is! Meanwhile, Mercury in Libra is backing us up with the ability to write beautifully. Don’t waste this day watching movies. WRITE!

OCTOBER 22 ~ Writing With The Stars ~ daily astrology for writers

moonclouds_smallWhen the Phoenix wakes up lying in the ashes, it’s rather uncomfortable at first. Then, just before it rises into the air, it must shake off its feathers and preen a little, so the inaugural flight will go off without a hitch. This morning, we’re shaking. This evening we’re preening. And tomorrow is lift-off, with the new Moon Solar Eclipse in Scorpio flinging us into a wonderful new beginning. Don’t worry. It’s not a surprise. You’ve been preparing for this your whole life.

OCTOBER 20 ~ Writing With The Stars ~ daily astrology for writers

moonclouds_smallMoon in Virgo sextile Saturn in Scorpio gives you the ability to get to the bottom of any structural details you’ve been working on. It’s been great for novelists lately with Mars sextile Sun/Venus in Libra for the last couple of weeks. This gives us the ability to write actively within a plot outline, making the work more organized. Good aspects with Mars and Pluto remain for another three weeks, with an extra oomph as Mars goes into Capricorn. If we’ve had any plotting problems, they’ll be solved by mid November.

OCTOBER 19 ~ Writing With The Stars ~ daily astrology for writers

moonclouds_smallThis is a great day to edit or work on plotting or outlining. The Moon in Virgo gives us the willingness to pay attention to detail. Harmonious aspects to Saturn and Pluto reinforce our ability to discriminate between what to keep, what to change and what to chop. Anyone dealing with writing contracts will be able to scrutinize the fine print easily today. With Mercury retrograde, it’s a good idea to read everything before signing. This evening, take a break, and pat yourself on the back for being so diligent.

OCTOBER 18 ~ Writing With The Stars ~ daily astrology for writers

moonclouds_smallEmotionally, we want to leap forward into the drama and write those juicy relationship scenes. But Moon square Saturn in Scorpio urges us to just touch the brakes a little so that we don’t crash into that wall called ‘melodrama’. We can go too far today if we don’t look into our characters’ motivations. Saturn wants structure, so look at where these dramatic scenes are taking you. Are you at risk of falling into a gaping plot hole? Just take a few moments to look at where you are going with your project.

OCTOBER 17 ~ Writing With The Stars ~ daily astrology for writers

moonclouds_smallAs the Moon approaches its conjunction with Jupiter in Leo, you will be eager to try out your new ideas. It won’t be until after lunch that you are able to see where they fit within the overall writing project. Then it’s as if a firehose opens up and blasts you with exciting new scenes, too many to capture all at once. Just keep writing and don’t worry about the exact words. Grab those big ideas that are pouring out before they drain away. Quickly! Go! Write! Now!