ACT ONE – The Setup
Act One is all about setting the stage: readers should get an idea of who your protagonist is, what their everyday life is like, and what’s important to them.
2003: I stepped down from a very stressful and time-consuming job as a director of a medium-sized company, and became a computer technician in primary schools. As a by-product of this, I now had the time and ‘head space’ to be able to seriously think about my writing again. I had dabbled in the years before, but my prime focus was on developing my career and earning money
I began by joining a new discussion group, Get Writing, on the BBC website. We discusses short stories, and I began to concentrate on those. It was a great way of ‘learning the ropes’ of writing craft. You could write a new piece each week and get feedback on that. Giving feedback to others helped with my own writing, too.
I entered a few competitions, submitted my stories to a number of literary magazines. I had a little success, here and there, but nothing substantial. But what I was able to do was to build up a collection of short stories, with the intention of self-publishing them.
In the same period, I was enjoying National Novel Writing Month each November (NaNoWriMo – write 50,000 words in a month). The ‘things’ I produced weren’t novels. They were nowhere near, and most of them weren’t even completed stories.
This is the catalyst that sets the protagonist’s adventure in motion.
2009: I began thinking about my stories, and what I should do with them. Although they might not have been good enough to win a subjective competition, they still had some value as entertainment.
During a conversation with a neighbour, she told me she never read short stories. She only ever read novels. If I was going to self-publish my writing, with the intention of gaining readership and maybe earning royalties, maybe I should think about actually working towards finishing, editing and publishing novels?
I think I need to consider taking novel writing more seriously.
PLOT POINT ONE
It’s full speed ahead now! Think of the First Plot Point as the springboard that launches your character into Act Two.
2010: I publish my collection of short and micro-fiction, and turn my attention, full time, to writing novels.
I looked at the long-form fiction I’d written, but couldn’t face rewriting them and then completing them and editing and polishing to a publishable standard. And besides, I had several really great ideas which would make novels worthy of being published. Maybe I should just carry on, and actually write and finish and edit some of my longer-form fiction?
Tomorrow – Act Two!
Thanks to the Reedsy Blog Three Act Structure
I have just completed my one-minute pitch for the Efficient Novelist course! See below:
The course, when it is available, will be at:
The YouTube channel associated with it is:
If you’re interested in the Efficient Novelist program, there’s a Twitter account, but it’s fairly quiet at the moment. It might be worth a follow for future updates: @EfficientNovels
The book is available from Amazon, and the online course is launching on May 1st 2022.
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