Reflections of an Unknown Writer & Four Act Structure

writing four act structure

Four Act Structure

This isn’t a structure I see widely discussed, but it’s been the most helpful for me. It is basically the same as the three act structure I discussed last week, but it splits the second act into two different acts. 

The first of the the two – the second act – leads up to the midpoint. This is the character reacting to whatever event pulled them into the story and into the unfamiliar world. After the midpoint comes the third act, during which the character is now driving the action. She has had enough of the antagonist and has decided to take the fight to them. She plans, she acts, and at the end of this act, usually, she fails. Then comes what is now the fourth act, traditionally the third, and the climax to the story.

I find that splitting the story up into four equal acts, instead of the bulk of the story happening in one long second act, helps me to tackle the story more effectively. With two clearly defined acts in the middle – one with the protagonist reacting to the first plot point, and the other with the protagonist beginning to act and drive the action more clearly – I can physically split it up in Scrivener and see the divide between the two halves of the book a lot better. It’s a small change, but one I’ve found incredibly valuable.



Sadly, I haven’t written any of my pirate WIP in the last week. I set myself a weekly goal, blocked out time to work on it, but life happened, I wasn’t well, and it didn’t happen. I’m trying not to see this as a failure of my idea, of the plan, but just a hiccup that happened to happen at the start of the plan. Very unfortunate.

I did write a short piece in one of my university classes last week. A 250 word (exactly) piece of flash fiction on one of four themes – characteristically, I went for compassion. I like the story I came up with. I was expecting to not be able to write anything (I’m not good at writing on cue), but something came, and a something I liked. So, the constraint of a precise word count helped. Interesting.

I think I’m going to try my weekly goal plan again this week, but maybe with a different goal. I want to work on my WIP, definitely, but I also want to write a piece of flash fiction every week, and this week I want to enter the #blogbattle – which means a roughly 1000 word story. And I have a busy weekend, which means pre-writing some posts for this site. As I discussed in my Soulful Sunday post, I’m having to look at my priorities and really decide what has to come first. my WIP doesn’t, unfortunately.

The plan, then, is to write my short story, write my posts, then, if I have time, work on the pirates. 😀

I have a goal, and time blocked out. We’ll see if it works this week.



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