Step by Step with Structure: 4 Parts to a Narrative

One of the most helpful concepts I found in the agreement of several screenwriting books (that had nothing to say about archetypes) was this: three part structure. This is essentially three acts, and if you’re familiar, you know that the first act is roughly one quarter of the written text or story.

Step by Step with Structure: 4 Parts to a Narrative:

One of the most helpful concepts I found in the agreement of several screenwriting books (that had nothing to say about archetypes) was this: three part structure. This is essentially three acts, and if you’re familiar, you know that the first act is roughly one quarter of the written text or story.
The second act is more or less half of the story, in volume. We look at that second act in two parts, the first half of it, and the second half (in other words, the second act supplies us with two more quarters).
And the third act is about the same length as the first, one quarter of the text. This gives you four reasonably equal parts of a narrative.
Movement from part to part is punctuated by a major event at the beginning (inciting incident) and at the halfway point (midpoint), and at the turning points occurring at the end of part one (one quarter of the way through the story) and part two (three quarters of the way through the story). Chances are you’ve encountered this information before, but in case you haven’t: __x________x________x________x________
These are all aptly named turning points describing newsworthy events that alter your character in some way, physically, mentally, or emotionally. Most frequently, emotionally. To paraphrase Mary LoVerde’s book title, they thought they had a handle on life, but it broke.
And from each of these points, the protagonist will go on differently, he will make a plan, although at first it’s probably a plan for recovering life as it was moments before the inciting incident occurred. He makes a plan, however intuitive or ‘by the seat of his pants’ it may be, and then it fails. He has to keep making alterations to cope with life as he knows it now, until, resigned to the changes that have occurred, more creatively, he plans with an intention to make things right.