The 3-Act Structure: Introduction

“You can’t plow a field simply by turning it over in your mind.”
― Gordon B. Hinckley

Planning a novel is the most important aspect of creating one. Even if you’re a pantster, at some or the other point, you’ll realise the need to arrange the novel in an order which will ensure that the novel is structured properly.

Organising everything from comes as second nature to planners, but it becomes a headache for pantsters and the writers who are new to the craft who find it a little overwhelming at times to keep a track of the basic plotline of their novel while writing it.

There are many ways in which one can plan a novel. The most basic way to plan your novel is to use the 3-Act Structure, a modified and evolved version of Aristotle’s way of writing tragedy. In this post, I’ll be introducing the 3-Act Structure along with its benefits and uses. In order to read the 3-Act Structure in detail, please read this: The 3-Act Structure: In Detail


The 3-Act Structure: Introduction

What is the 3-Act Structure?

The 3-Act Structure is a system of dividing a novel into three broad sections: 25%-50%-25%, where each of the three acts has some specific plot or story moves. This is the most basic type of story structure and can be seen or identified in almost any story ever written.

Because of this basic nature of the 3-Act Structure, a lot of writers feel that this structure is too thin to be used for structuring elaborate novels because of having a lengthy and complex middle portion. And I agree with them. But I also feel that for writers who are not into plotting heavily or who are just starting out, this is the best way to get acquainted with the otherwise infinite ocean of story plotting. I used this structure to plot my first novel, Deceived, and it served me well. There is a lot to this structure than meets the eye and I would highly recommend it to anyone who is new to either story plotting or writing itself.

On the surface, this structure is in line with Aristotle’s way of writing, having a beginning, a middle and an ending:

  • Act-1: Beginning
  • Act-2: Middle
  • Act-3: End

But, where all the novels have these three parts, there are also various other components to them in terms of the plot moves. So when the evolved version of Aristotle’s structure of writing tragedy looks like this:

  • Act-1: Introductions and Conflict
  • Act-2: Complication and Destruction
  • Act-3: Resolution

Here’s a simple diagram to depict the 3-Act Structure:

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What are the advantages of using the 3-Act Structure?

Using a pre-designed and a very basic structure to create a novel is always advisable as it helps in laying a strong foundation of your novel. Some of the advantages of using this structure are:

  1. It’s quite simple to comprehend and equally easy to apply.
  2. It makes sure that the basics of your novel remain in place and don’t get lost in the entirety of your project.
  3. It helps you to understand the missing pieces from your novel.
  4. It also makes you realise if and when you have unnecessary or extra scenes that you’re trying to incorporate in your novel.
  5. It helps you to organise your novel in a much better and clear way.
  6. It helps you to make your novel a better and a more polished version of the otherwise messy and haywire one.
  7. And more often than not, especially when you feel like you’ve run out of things/scenes to write, this method will definitely give you a gentle push to write more and will often fill your head with new ideas.

When should the 3-Sct Structure be used? Before starting the first draft, in between or at the of the nth draft?

The 3-Act Structure, or any structure for that matter, can be used at any point in your writing journey but I would advise to use it after you finish with the first draft. It will help you in understanding the plot holes and give you the much-needed direction in order to proceed with your next draft. If you really want to use this in building up your manuscript then keep adjusting all your drafts as per this structure (or any other structure that you are using) as the end of each draft as it’ll help your story remain in line.

If you want to know the details of this structure then read this: The 3-Act Structure: In Detail

If you feel like this is not for you then read about other story structures: The 4-Act-Structure: Introduction


If you are suffering from a writer’s block or are facing difficulty in getting ahead with your story, here are some articles I recommend:

Almost There!!! (Writing Progress #3)

Hello my dear readers, fellow bloggers and writers…

Finally I’ve written the last chapter of Deceived and now all I want to do is… get back to posting on my precious blogs!!! It’s been so long that I’ve written any post other than WOWs (and in that too I’ve missed a few.)

I’m done with my book’s final and revised third draft. Dagny has already proofread the first eight chapters and now that I’m done with the entire book, I’ll send her the rest of the chapters faster now. So hopefully we’ll be done by the… 15th of this month.

Well, I’ve done my study and I’ve decided to finally send the mail (post) to my favourite publisher with the first three chapters of of Deceived by the 10th of this month. Vishal will be representing me and I’m very sure that the first three chapters will make them ask for the entire manuscript and then we’ll see.

For now my main focus is to send all the chapters to Dagny and make all the corrections from her reports. Meanwhile, as I have a little free time (now that I’m done with all the writing-my-ass-off thing,) I am joining an art class to give myself something to be busy with. Because I know, if I won’t then I’ll be losing out – literally!

I’ve been so horrendously busy from last three months that now even the thought of taking some time off is freaking me out, so what better than art to keep myself busy. I’m joining a one month Canvas painting course, starting tomorrow. And I’m really looking forward to it.

I’ll be posting all my drawings and painting here on the blog but you can always catch up with me on twitter or Instagram as I’m always present there… *wink*

I’ll also be resuming reviewing from this week, so hopefully I’ll be back on track by next week 🙂

The other important thing is that I’ll be getting my final manuscript copyrighted before sending it to a few people I really want a testimonial from. It’ll help me in negotiating a much more solid deal with my publisher. So if any of you is interested (authors only as I’m going to be quoting them in my mail) please drop me a mail at rathoreheena@gmail.com to let me know.

I’ll be giving out the books only to 5 authors, I’m sorry, but I have serious time restrictions…

I hope you all are having a great time!

Ciao ❤

Guest-Post: Dealing With Negative Feelings – Make A Change!

Hi guys! Please welcome today’s Guest-Blogger, Erika Kind: The author of I’m Free and several other amazing books, she also has a practice for aromatherapy and self-development.

Erika is the sweetest and the most inspiring person I’ve ever known. She’s a great friend and an even better guide! I love reading her motivating posts on her amazing blog and always look forward to have a word or two with her whenever possible. She is an endless source of positivity and I can’t thank her enough for agreeing to write a post for this blog! Erika, you are the best ❤

Visit her blog, Author Erika Kind, to know more about her.

Presenting Erika Kind…

I am so happy to be asked for a guest-post by my dear friend Heena. What do I love most about her blog? Her fresh and light way of writing, and inspiring. To me she is a young woman with lots of feelings and a heart full of wisdom. Heena asked me to write about how to deal with negative feelings. A topic with a very wide range… where to start, where to go?

We all are caught by negative feelings at times; some more and some less. Why do we have negative feelings? (At this point I’d like to differ between feelings and emotions in order to provide a better understanding. Feelings to me mean something stable and kind of condition. Emotions are only of a short duration and emerge out of a happening.) So why do we have negative feelings? I try to keep it short and simple.

Guest Post: SUPPORT By R. M. Ridley

Hello dear readers! Please welcome my first Guest-Blogger, Mr. R. M. Ridley: Writer of Fantasy and Horror and the author of  Tomorrow Wendell

A couple of months ago, through my blog The Reading Bud, I had the pleasure of reading his book and I was totally spellbound by it’s fascinating plot. 

Visit his blog Creativity From Chaos to know more about him.

Presenting R. M. Ridley…

When Heena asked me to do a guest blog post I was honored, delighted, and completely at a loss. What did I know about writing? What made me an expert in any way? How could I claim to hold profound knowledge previously untold?

The answer is that I don’t.

What I do have is a smattering of experience backed up by a lot of support. And maybe that is the key. Maybe that is what I should share—support.

With the help of McKeena Gardener, my editor at Xchyler Publishing, I am putting together a collection of my short stories set in my White Dragon Black world, for an anthology titled ‘Blondes, Books,& Bourbon’ (April release).