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

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