Why I Now Use The Three-Act Story Structure

Story structure is something I'm currently learning about—something that's completely new for me.

I've been watching Abbie Emmons' videos about the Three-Act Story Structure, and she convinced me to try it.

It's hard, but as I'm learning, it's SO worth it!

So why is story structure so important? And why am I going to use it from now on?

That's what we're discussing today! Let's go!


I used to be a pantser. I pretty much "pantsed" my first two novels, then loosely used the Three-Act Story Structure for my third novel (which I did not finish writing).

All three books need to be rewritten.

If I look through some of my old notes for story ideas, I will find lots of random book ideas, and they'll be pretty consistent: decent beginning, weak middle, awesome ending.

If I try to write a full-length novel (or even a novella) from any of these notes, I expect to fail. Miserably.

Why? Because my books have no structure! Sure, the ending will probably be amazing, but before I can get to that awesome ending, I have to bring my readers through the beginning and the middle.

With my former novels, I've tried to put some meat on the few frail bones that were there, but the bones wouldn't hold. I needed something that would keep my novels from falling apart.

And that's where the Three-Act Story Structure comes in.


Thanks to the Three-Act Story Structure, I now know how to write my novel. It (almost) writes the novel for you!

There are three acts in this structure, hence the name. In these three acts, you have several story beats: the hook, the inciting incident, the first pinch point, the plot twist, the climax, etc. (Abbie Emmons can give you more information about what each of these story beats consist of!)

Story structure is a coherent plan to follow. It takes your protagonist up and down, forcing her outside her comfort zone, and making the readers dread what's up ahead (a.k.a. the antagonist!).

Now that I use story structure, I know where to put the inciting incident, plot twist, and climax so my readers won't want to put the book down!


Now, you might be asking, "If a ton of novels are using the same structure, aren't they all going to be the same?"

Well, not exactly. (Abbie Emmons addresses this question in her videos too.) Your reader isn't necessarily interested in what will happen, but how it will happen. Readers might be able to guess that the protagonist is going to win and there's going to be an amazing ending! But...how?

That's where their curiosity will pique, and they will keep reading.


So here's the question: Should you use story structure?

You, of course, are the only one who can answer this question.

But I believe that story structure is super important because it provides a mountain for your protagonist to climb. It throws in obstacles for your protagonist to overcome along the way. It tells you where to add a pinch point—the place where you foreshadow opposition ahead. It shows you where to put the plot twist.

If you don't know how to fill your middle and keep it from sagging, check out story structure!

There are several different ways to structure your story, but the Three-Act Story Structure is the only one I'm currently familiar with. (And it seems pretty popular when it comes to story structure!)

I'm using story structure from now on because I know it will change the way my story is told.

It makes me dive deeper into my book and dig out the gems that are hidden there.

And it will help you too.


what about you?
Do YOU use story structure? Have you ever heard of the Three-Act Story Structure?

No comments:

Copyright © 2019 Julia Nelson. Powered by Blogger.