Three Act Plan

We talked about having a beginning, middle and end to your story and I thought I’d show you a form you can easily adapt for your own needs.

Unfortunately, due to copyright issues I will only supply you with the main plot for the movie "Tootsie", so that you can see how the form works.

  Beginning 1st Turning Point Middle 2nd Turning Point Climax End
Main Plot Michael can’t get a job. Michael gets a job – as Dorothy. Michael becomes very successful. Michael tries to get out of his contract. "Dorothy" reveals herself to be Michael. Things are sorted out.
Sub Plots            
1            
2            
3            
4            
5            

Sorry, it’s not a great example but I don’t have time to work out a better one and this one was provided for me.

Anyway, start with your main plot. Think about that only, forget the sub plots for the time being, and fill in the columns across the page about your main plot. Try to keep things simple by only writing a sentence or two; or write it in point form if that helps.

Once your main plot has been worked out, start thinking about your main sub plot. Sub plots can be relationships between another character and your main character; a political issue; an unforseen problem; a murder; the list goes on.

Keep working down the page until all your plots are written down. Now remember, the subplots don’t have to have their beginning at the same place as the main plot. Actually, it’s probably better if they don’t. Each sub plot can be any length and can start anywhere during the manuscript. If you are writing a trilogy, you may even have a sub plot that spans three manuscripts like me.

Now, when you’ve finished doing this, you can glance at this sheet of paper at anytime and know roughly where you should be heading, and you should never say you’ve gone off track again. In theory, anyway.

Go back to the contents page . . . | . . . Go to Part 10: (still to come)

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