Day 21 – Your Novel in Three Acts

31 Days to Plan Your Novel

Now that you’ve spent three weeks free-writing your novel, we’re going to start outlining. I use a three-act system that is based on what Alan Watt discusses in The 90-Day Novel: Unlock the Story Within; a fantastic resource that I’m not getting paid to recommend.

Over the next week or so, I’ll be discussing each section of the narrative arc with more detail, but for now, this is what you’re working with:

Act I – Introduces your characters, location and problem. Your protagonist is faced with a problem, something happens that sets the story in motion, and finally, your protagonist commits to their goal.

Act II – Your protagonist suffers and struggles. They may think they have achieved their goal only to realize they have not (a false sense of victory) They recommit themselves to their goal.

Act III – The climax. The protagonist achieves their goal (it may not look exactly the way they had envisioned).

As you work through your plan, I recommend writing in pencil. Just because you’re in the outlining process does not mean your story has lost the will to change.

31 Days to Plan Your Novel

Every October, hundreds of bloggers gather at The Nesting Place to write for 31 days straight on a variety of different topics, teaching and encouraging and offering tips and tricks to make life easier.


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