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February 28, 2019
You may not be an outliner and that’s okay! There is no one way to write a novel. The 3-Act structure is great if you’re stuck on moving the plot forward, if you feel you have a sagging middle or if you just want to outline your great idea and connect some dots before jumping in!
I recently read Save the Cat Writes a Novel by Jessica Brody and was introduced to this 3-Act concept and what they call story beats which breaks everything down even further. While I am an outliner and a plotter, I don’t have any formal education on writing fiction so this roadmap to writing a compelling novel was new to me.
In a way, I’m glad I wrote my first draft on my own terms. I think it allowed my creativity to flow and not have to think about if I was following the 3-Act structure correctly. I used the book to replot and fix some slow areas of my first draft and I can tell it has already improved my book SO much!
So whether you use this to outline, to draft or to replot as I did, I think it’s great information and I am very excited to pass along some of the knowledge to you. For more details and some amazing examples I really encourage you to pick up Save the Cat Writes a Novel. There is so much more in it than what I am sharing below. You can also find other blog posts and articles that articulate the structure and its components differently. I have outlined the 3-Act structure and story beats in a way that makes sense to me. Find what works for you!
The Opening Scene
Introduction to the Regular World
The Inciting Incident
The Great Debate
The B Story
A Whole New World
It’s All Downhill
The Final Image
Who knew there were so many pieces to connect when you’re wiring a novel that moves the plot forward with every page? I really hope you gained something from this and that it helps your book writing process! Again, there is no right way to write a novel, if this doesn't work for you that’s okay!
Outline your own novel using the 3-Act story structure with this free download. You can print it out and work through something by hand or keep it in a Google Doc and move things around as you need to!
Already have your first draft written? Try using the sheet to see how it follows, you might be missing something that can really drive your story forward. It’s a great writing exercise no matter what point in the process you’re at!
Happy Writing Friends!
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