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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 www.savvyauthors.com 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:
www.chrisreddingauthor.com; http://chrisredddingauthor.blogspot.com; www.facebook.com/chrisredding;

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.

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( 10 comments — Leave a comment )
Nov. 29th, 2011 05:58 pm (UTC)
I honestly don't think about it. But my stories tend to fall into three acts. I suspect my reading tons of books has something to do with that. *shrugs*
Nov. 29th, 2011 06:03 pm (UTC)
Hmmm...it seems I DO, though I haven't done so consciously. Cool!
Nov. 29th, 2011 07:18 pm (UTC)
I must be doing something right, 'cause all my stories have three acts: Beginning, middle and end ;)
Nov. 29th, 2011 09:41 pm (UTC)
That's actually pretty much what I do, too; but don't you hate those beginnings that lead to earlier scenes which, by virtue of being pre-beginning scenes, usurp the starter position?
Nov. 29th, 2011 10:40 pm (UTC)
Thank goodness for 'Cut & Paste', right? :)
Nov. 29th, 2011 11:06 pm (UTC)
Computers make it so much easier.
Nov. 29th, 2011 08:13 pm (UTC)
Plotting has never been one of my major focuses since I usually wrote by the seat of my pants. Characters and their wants, plus the obstacles they faced were what drove me.

But, and this is a big but, I'm working to change that process and become an outliner. I'm reading several books on plot at the moment and I think the three act structure is instrumental in creating an effective and well told story.
Chris Redding
Nov. 29th, 2011 08:39 pm (UTC)
Thanks all for stopping by. Probably because we are all readers we innately understand the 3 act structure. Movies and books have that rhythm. I think for a beginning writer it may need to be pointed out.
AR Williams, it isn't necessary to become a plotter. If you don't plot, things can be changed in the second draft.
Nov. 29th, 2011 09:40 pm (UTC)
If by "Goddess", you mean, say, Chuck Norris, then no. XD
Nov. 30th, 2011 03:06 am (UTC)
I don't always follow them intentionally, but I think both the Mythic journey and the three act structure have become so intrinsic in our collective storytelling unconsciousness that I think every storyteller should take a bit of time to study up on them. They aren't the only or best option for every story, but a good grounding in them gives you a framework for understanding audience expectations.
( 10 comments — Leave a comment )

Things What I Wrote and Other Stuff

No longer in print but there are still some copies floating around out there

No longer in print but there are still some copies floating around out there



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NJ Writing groups - compressed

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