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Aristotle's Incline Plotting in 3 Acts

Plotting a Novel in Three Acts (Complete Series)

1. PLOTTING A NOVEL IN THREE ACTS

I’ve trodden the boards most of my life. No, I’m not talking about walking the plank, although it sometimes can feel that way during the infamous period known by theater people as hell week. That’s when troublesome musical passages, elusive lines, and final costume fittings collide with an overloaded slate of rehearsals. When it comes … Continue reading Plotting a Novel in Three Acts→

2. PLOTTING A NOVEL IN THREE ACTS: OPENING SCENE

The lights go out. A hush breathes through the audience. The curtain rises.  There is never a moment so pregnant with anticipation as the opening scene of a play. The audience, primed and ready, wants to believe and if given the opportunity willingly immerses itself for the story’s duration. Only if the performance falters will … Continue reading Plotting a Novel in Three Acts: Opening Scene→

3. PLOTTING A NOVEL IN THREE ACTS: FIRST PLOT POINT

Writing a novel requires a writer to keep the story fresh and moving toward its climax and resolution. That’s a challenging proposition, so it helps to have at least a rough plan. This post covers the first plot point, which I like to call “engagement.” (If you missed my prior posts on plotting, start there: … Continue reading Plotting a Novel in Three Acts: First Plot Point→

4. PLOTTING A NOVEL IN THREE ACTS: MIDPOINT SCENE

If your book sags in the middle, understanding the midpoint scene Aristotle described in his classic plot structure will help you trim the flab and whip your story into shape. If you’ve read Plotting a Novel in Three Acts, you know that the second Act is the longest (at 50% of the story). So, besides ocurring … Continue reading Plotting a Novel in Three Acts: Midpoint Scene→

5. PLOTTING A NOVEL IN THREE ACTS: THE BLACK MOMENT

It’s always darkest before the dawn. A wise writer proves out this proverb and leads the main character by steps to a ‘black moment, a time when despair wins the day and lies seem true. Formidable obstacles stand in the way of ever obtaining the desired goal, and all hope dies. Defeat seems eminent, even … Continue reading Plotting a Novel in Three Acts: The Black Moment→

6. PLOTTING A NOVEL IN THREE ACTS: THE EPIPHANY

An epiphany is a sudden, unexpected moment of revelation that causes a dramatic internal change for your protagonist. In literature, the epiphany moment comes after events force the protagonist to call upon previously untapped inner resources to make a crucial decision. The epiphany comes as an internal revelation of  a previously hidden truth about the … Continue reading Plotting a Novel in Three Acts: The Epiphany→

7. PLOTTING A NOVEL IN THREE ACTS: SECOND PLOT POINT

The second plot point injects the final information needed to propel a novel toward its climax. Occurring around the 75% mark, this scene effectively rings the curtain down on the novel’s second act as it skews the story in an unexpected direction. From this point onward, the reader is aware that the climax has begun … Continue reading Plotting a Novel in Three Acts: Second Plot Point→

8. PLOTTING A NOVEL IN THREE ACTS: THE CLIMACTIC SCENE

The stakes are at their highest in the final face-off between the antagonist and protagonist of your novel.  With the reader’s expectations keyed to the maximum, this do-or-die moment can make or break your book. No pressure there, right? Breathe deep and hang on tight, because we’re going to dive into the climactic scene. Although that … Continue reading Plotting a Novel in Three Acts: The Climactic Scene→

9. PLOTTING A NOVEL IN THREE ACTS: THE CLOSING SCENE

The closing scene of a novel has to work hard within the confines of time and space to tie up loose ends and put a nice finish on your story.  After a masterful climactic scene, the audience waits in anticipation for the final curtain to rise. This is dessert, if you will, following a fine supper, … Continue reading Plotting a Novel in Three Acts: The Closing Scene→

See the Full List of Plotting Articles by Janalyn Voigt

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