Last week, I introduced you to the 3-act, 8-sequence story structure. The three acts are, basically, your beginning, middle, and end. The middle is much larger than the beginning and end, so Act II is divided into two parts. When you divide each of those three (but really, four) acts in half, you get eight sequences.
Just about every novel starts out by letting the reader into the main character’s (MC) normal world. If you’re writing a contemporary story with a contemporary situation, then you won’t need a whole lot of world building in Act I. If you’re writing science fiction or fantasy, you’ll probably need quite a lot more.
By the end of sequence one, the reader should know and identify with the MC. At the end of this sequence is also generally when the inciting incident happens (although it can happen earlier.) Remember, the inciting incident is the first really unusual thing that happens to the MC. Unusual
for his world, not yours
In sequence two, the MC deals with the inciting incident. They process it. Remember, the inciting incident is a question: do you want into this story. The answer might be no at first. That’s often called the refusal of the call. It might be no a bunch of times. It might an immediate, knee jerk yes (think about Katniss volunteering as tribute in The Hunger Games.) Eventually, the MC will get to yes, somehow. Even if it’s coerced or not really their choice. How they get to that yes is your second sequence.
The second sequence usually ends with the lock-in–the answer to the question of the inciting incident. As I’ve said, that answer will be yes somehow.
In Act I, your MC might also meet a mentor. This would be someone that will help the MC get to the yes of the lock-in, and also help throughout the story. Examples of mentors are Hagrid in Harry Potter, Haymitch in The Hunger Games, and Gandolf in The Hobbit. You might also introduce the reader to some of the MCs allies and enemies. This about Harry Potter meeting Ron and Hermione on the train, or Dorothy
meeting her friends on the yellow brick road.
Your MC might have their first test–something to test their resolve not to accept the call to action of the inciting incident.
In the first part of Act II, your MC is just starting away from their real world and into the special world of the story.
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Read the full article HERE!
If you missed my writing & marketing tweets and retweets yesterday, here they are again:
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