Why the Three Act Structure is Unnecessary in Novels





One of the questions, or comments, seen by beginning writers of many boards is about the Three Act Structure as it relates to novels. This is an unneeded constraint to an author’s creativity. The reason for that structure was originally for plays. It allowed for a slight break at times, depending on the type of drama or comedy involved, along with allowing the play write to organize his or her writing. Once the motion picture was created, then the format carried over. This is where it belongs.

As for novels, and short stories for that matter, the structure is different. These are the parts.



                      This is the beginning of the story, where characters and setting are introduced. It can be a combination of dialogue and narration or one of the two exclusively. 

Narrative Hook:

                       The Narrative Hook is where an event, whether caused by internal or external forces, that catches the reader’s attention and starts the ball rolling. This part can be called by various different names, but it’s essentially the same.

Rising Tension:

                      Is the part of the story where the action, or main drama, takes place. It’s where the pressure on the character starts to grow and helps to move the story along.


                       Where the tension hit’s critical mass. Things are settled for good or bad here and it’s the high point of the story.


                       This is where the writer ties up the loose ends and brings the story to a logical end. It also is where things can be set up for a series also. How a author chooses to do this part is up to them, but it still remains the same.


I hope this helps. 

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