OngoingWorlds blog

News & articles about play-by-post games, for roleplayers & writers


Reggie’s Writing Tips: # 41 – 50 (Advance Writing – The Three Act Structure)

Hand writingThis article was written by Reggie from the play-by-post game: The Five Elements: Fire, Water, Earth, Air and Blood. You can read all of Reggie’s writing tips here.

Rarely are there 3 act structures in a RP post, but use these tips to look at your story as a WHOLE. There is much to gain from understanding a basic three act structure even if you are only creating a short story. Once you are comfortable with it, defiantly feel free to break away, but it’s a good place to start for the beginner.

Tip #41: Quick Basic 3-Act Formula: Ask a question in Act I. Explore it in Act 2A. Challenge it in 2B. Answer it in Act III.

Tip #42: Trigger the main problem in Act I by having your main character make an unwise choice. She’ll need to spend Acts II & III making it right.

Tip #43: Try to tell a small emotional or visual story in the first few paragraphs. Edit to get to the punch line or reveal by end of your post.

Tip #44: Act I “inciting incident” should be a push to the act break, not the break itself. Confuse the two and you’ll confuse the reader.

Tip #45: Love interest is always more interesting when a character is a potential source of or answer to the main character’s Act II problem.

Tip #46: Does your midpoint event bring character, premise, and the world together? It should be a refocusing of story; not just a random happening.

Tip #47: Don’t forget about or neglect your antagonist. Act 2B is a good place for your villain to strike back!

Tip #48: Stuck in Act 2B? Think about the consequences that happened in 2A! Sometimes main characters leave behind emotional and physical train wrecks.

Tip #49: What’s your Act III strategy? It should be clear on what your main character wants. But how is he/she going to get it?

Tip #50: Ensure your Act III isn’t too one note. Add one final hurdle to give the story one last hitch.

This article was written by Reggie Shelton. You can read all of Reggie’s writing tips here.