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An example three-act scructure outline.

ACT 1

  • (protagonist) Introduce them.
  • (hook) Key line spoken / hook grabs attention.
  • Show protag's personality.
  • (turning point) Element of risk. Sends story in new direction.

ACT 2

  • Audience chance to relax. Protag reflects on dilemma. Formed goal - false. Minor setback.
  • (focus point 1) Refocuses TP1. Sign of growth.


  • Protag takes first action. Growth in protag's character. Obstacles get tougher.
  • (point of no return/mid-point) Protag begins to take charge of destiny. Considers giving up, but continues with no going back to former ways.


  • Subplot sometimes established or location changed.
  • (focus point 2) Restates problem. Good focus points are linked. Show protag's growth with 1st FP hinting at it, 2nd showing in full.


  • Sometimes expositionary sequence explaining inner motivation of protag. Sets up action leading to:
  • (turning point 2/climax) Refocuses story. Integrated into story with obvious setup. Will lead to sense of failure/despair.

ACT 3

  • Audience chance to relax. Accelerates action toward climax. Sometimes chase/pursuit.
  • (climax) Final confrontation. Peak emotional moment. Satisfying ending.
  • (epilogue) Key line / hook resonated, but with meaning changed.

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