Story Structure in Three Acts

Welcome to this episode of Sentence to Paragraph and the first of a series of debates about how to piece a plot together!

In this week’s episode of Sentence to Paragraph, Daryll Lynne and Molly exchange ideas and experiences about how they get their story ideas onto paper through using techniques of both the discovery writing and plot structure schools of thought. Listen below, on Podomatic, or iTunes.

Molly’s Editing Tip:

Digital technology has made the most elusive of punctuational choices – the ellipsis – even more of an enigma. According to Molly, the ellipsis, commonly understood to signal anticipation, should be used “only if the character is truly trailing off or pausing.” Her rule of thumb is 5 total for the whole story. As Molly says, “don’t over salt your story.”

Podcast Highlights:

  • Daryll Lynne illuminates the three act structure – Act I: Drive your character up a tree; Act II: Light the tree on fire; and in the final Act III: Get them out, save them, or better yet, get them to save themselves!
  • Molly poses a commonly asked question, how do discovery writers or “pantsers” get to the end of their story?
  • We explore the fear of losing the joy of writing through too much plotting and experiment with different ways to use both the analytical and creative parts of the mind
  • Daryll Lynne describes a technique from NaNoWriMo, plot-bunny day care
  • Whatever your writing style, plot should always urge the characters forward