Jon Gibbs (jongibbs) wrote,
Jon Gibbs

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Do you apply the three act and mythic structure to your writing?

Today, I'm delighted to welcome my friend and fellow NJAN member, Chris Redding. Chris has a new workshop Lights! Camera! Bestseller! which she'll be teaching at in February of 2012.

Here's an excerpt:

Three Act and Mythic Structure by Chris Redding
According to Skip Press, author of The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Screenwriting, in a script it is the first ten pages that are important. In a book you don’t really have much more than that to hook your reader.

Movies often have a 3-act structure, but novels can be plotted out this way also. All three acts are not always the same length, but they usually contain the same thing. If you understand mythic structure, as in the Hero’s Journey, the following will show you how it breaks down into 3-act structure.

Act 1
Call to Adventure
Refusal of the Call
Supernatural Aid
Crossing of the First Threshold
Belly of the Whale

In the first act an inciting incident must propel the hero into the story. It isn’t always the first scene, but in such genres as thrillers and mysteries it will be. This is the Call to Adventure. If the hero just took on the call, the story would not be as interesting. The refusal is about conflict which is good for the story.

Act 2
The Road of Trials
The Meeting of the Goddess
Woman as Temptress
Atonement with the Father
The Ultimate Boon

In the second act, obviously the hero will face trials. He will meet allies and enemies along his path to his goal. And he will have to reconcile his past, as in Atonement with the Father before he can move further. This act is the longest part of any movie or novel. There is no turning back.

Act 3
Refusal of the Return
The Magic of Flight
Rescue from Without
The Crossing of the Return Threshold
Master of the Two Worlds
Freedom to Live

In the third act, all the conflicts are resolved. The loose ends are tied up. The hero returns to his original world with newfound confidence. He is now Master of the Two Worlds. He can now go back to living though we know his life will be different.

How about you?

Do you apply the three act and mythic structure to your writing?

Chris Redding lives in New Jersey with her husband, two kids, one dog and three rabbits. She graduated from Penn State with a degree in journalism. When she isn’t writing, she works part time for her local hospital.

Links for Chris Redding:;;;

Books by Chris Redding: Corpse Whisperer; The Drinking Game; Confessions: Volume One; Incendiary; A View to a Kilt; Blonde Demolition

You just can't hide from the past...

Mallory Sage lives in a small, idyllic town where nothing ever happens. Just the kind of life she has always wanted. No one, not even her fellow volunteer firefighters, knows about her past life as an agent for Homeland Security.

Former partner and lover, Trey McCrane, comes back into Mallory's life. He believes they made a great team once, and that they can do so again. Besides, they don't have much choice. Paul Stanley, a twisted killer and their old nemesis, is back.

Framed for a bombing and drawn together by necessity, Mallory and Trey go on the run and must learn to trust each other again―if they hope to survive. But Mallory has been hiding another secret, one that could destroy their relationship. And time is running out.

Tags: fiction, guest post, writing

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