What Billy Wilder said of screenwriting works as well for novelists. “If you have a problem with the third act, the real problem is in the first act.”
A Checklist For Your Act 1
- An opening paragraph or page that communicates time, place, tone, promise of genre, and a hint at the central conflict.
- A harbinger of change in the hero’s life.
- The theme of the whole tale early on, possibly stated by a supporting character.
- Character development in the hero (and other characters), possibly while attempting to preserve the status quo.
- A catalyst that will propel the hero into the adventures of Act 2.
- As well, it can help to do a page count to see that Act 1 is not longer than the current plans for Act 2 or 3.
And, on to the adventures of Act 2.
I hope you’ll have another brilliant week in your writing career.
Cheers to you,
Mel Anastasiou writes The Fairmount Manor Mysteries series, starring Mrs Stella Ryman, The Hertfordshire Pub Mysteries series, starring Spencer Stevens, and is a founding editor with Pulp Literature Press.
If you enjoy reading Mel Anastasiou’s writing tips, get The Writer’s Friend and Confidante: Thirty Days of Narrative Achievement. Only available for the month of November.
Other books by Mel Anastasiou from Pulp Literature Press