1. Rumwriter
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    Rumwriter Active Member

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    Being chosen brings about act 2

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by Rumwriter, Aug 21, 2012.

    One of the big things I'm messing with right now is changing up how I enter act 2. Looking at how other stories (mostly sci fi/fantasy) have done this, I find it often ends with a person being chosen in some form:

    Ender is chosen to go to battle school.
    Katniss is chosen to go to the hunger games.
    Bilbo is chosen by Gandalf to go with the dwarves.

    And others.

    I'm trying to stray away from this as a plot device, but I find it's so easy to fall into. I'm not sure what my point of this thread was, maybe just to hear your thoughts on it, or hear other ideas for getting into a second act...I don't know, but it's troubling me, for some reason.
     
  2. captain kate
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    captain kate Active Member

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    Actually, none of those are an "act two" as much as they are the narrative hook that draws in a reader. The three-act sectioning comes from script writing due to time constraints. That's the key to writing, create a "hook" that leads you further on, in DaD, it's a bounty put on my two MC's heads, which hooks the reader into the action and spy games to follow.

    I've read two of your three references. Ender's choosing: hook for the story. Katniss's volunteering: hook for the story. Without either one of those, you'd never want to read further in the story, nor would there be any suspense.
     
  3. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    i don't see any need to be concerned with the 3-act structure, unless you're writing a screenplay or stage play...
     
  4. -oz
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    -oz Active Member

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    Aside from Kate's point, one of the main reasons there is a "being chosen" part to these books is that it introduces change. Change is the essence of story. It only makes sense that after building the character in the eyes of the reader, change is introduced. It's not a "trap" or an "easy way out", it's just a more dramatic way of bringing about change.
     
  5. fwc577
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    fwc577 Member

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    Those are all calls to adventure. You don't really enter act two until after the first threshold guardian. He is the one/thing seperating you from the normal world and the world of adventure!
     
  6. captain kate
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    captain kate Active Member

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    Ok, guys, let's understand something about novels. The three act set-up doesn't apply to novels, it applies to script writing when time is an element to include in your writing. Novels are different beasts. I'd stop looking at it as "three acts" and drop back to basic English Descriptions. As I've said, and Oz too, is that the point of narrative hook grabs your attention and changes things fundamentally for the MC, because it starts her character arc, which runs concurrently with your plot.

    Three acts don't fit in novels.
     
  7. Samo
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    Samo Member

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    Of Mice and Men has a three act structure

    The reason for a three act structure isn't because of the timing - it is because three turning points are the necessary minimum for a story to reach a satisfying conclusion.

    Back to the original question:

    My guess is that the reason each of these use choice is because in forcing them to make a choice, the writer reveals character.
     
  8. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    So say the proponents of the three act fiction formula. But it is a formula, and an arbitrary one at that.

    Templates are fine for answering questions that come up over and over and over... But I reject them for story creation.
     
  9. captain kate
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    captain kate Active Member

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    Of Mice and Men might've been that way, but if you ask any highly knowledgeable person in writing and they'll tell a three act structure doesn't really fit into a novel. You might find older ones, and an occasional one now, which carry the structure, but it's not the prevalent style by any stretch of the imagination.

    Three turning points are the necessary minimum? Says who? If you want a successful novel, it better have a strong character arc, which is starting at point A and ending at Point C. The struggles the character goes through to grow are what's Point B stands for. I can point to several stories with one turning point which have worked too. Sometimes new writers confuse a character arc with plot and other items, they're totally different.

    But three turning points? Not necessary.

    Forcing a character to struggle, having to make choices is part of the character arc. Which this is how it works:

    K is a grouchy, hunter, who takes care of a family and bitter about life. Then K has a transformational moment, whether internal or external doesn't matter. K then struggles to resolve his/her conflict with the moment because it requires change and the tension of the story comes from the need to overcome. At the end, K changes into a different person, not necessarily personality wise, but he/she has grown, matured maybe, had an attitude change, come to grips with death...a ton of things.

    It doesn't take three turning points to make that happen.

    I still stand behind my original comment on three acts.
     
  10. Rumwriter
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    Rumwriter Active Member

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    I don't understand why people say 3 act structures aren't part of novel writing.

    There is the exposition (1), then the protagonist is faced with a problem, which ends in the climax (2), and then there is the denouement (3). The setup, the main focus, and the closing thoughts. 3 acts. It doesn't have to be done that way, but I would say that is a pretty standard format. Act 1: Harry Potter lives with the dursleys, until he learns he's a wizard. Act 2: He goes to Hogwarts and has to deal with all of the Wizarding world/Volemort. Act 3: He faces off against the antagonist in a final clash, and goes back to the Dursleys.
     
  11. captain kate
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    captain kate Active Member

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    It's not necessary and not part of novel structures, is why. Novels are different ball games then script writing, which is where people get the "three acts from." It's an anachronism, which isn't used anymore to be honest. Furthermore, JKR wrote the books for British audience before they arrived here, and they do things differently then we do, which leads to this same argument that never dies down.

    Three acts aren't necessary in a novel.

    I STILL stand behind my original comment.
     
  12. Pheonix
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    Pheonix A Singer of Space Operas and The Fourth Mod of RP Staff Contributor

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    Novel structure, according to my writing class (which should not be held as a reliable source)is a little different. You start with 1) exposition, then 2) Rising action (This is considered separate from the exposition) which leads to the 3) climax folloed by 4) resolution. Its all just labels really tho. If you have a story, write it and don't worry about what 'act' you're in, just write it and see what happens.
     
  13. Samo
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    Samo Member

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    I would say it was form rather than formula. Each to their own, anyway

    Thanks. I'm going to go and put ice on my ego

    Starting at point A, going on to point B and ending with point C... maybe we're talking about the same thing just in different languages?

    Maybe, then, we're of different opinion because I am from the UK? Though I'm not sure that's not the case. We should quit this line of inquiry before any more generalisations are made.
     
  14. introspect
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    introspect Member

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    question:

    Why are you so interested in how other people write stories? Your soul is your story. You’re its voice. If you want me to judge you by how you copy other peoples work, then I will. But I would prefer to judge you by the choices you made, and not the choices of other people.

    You’ve got an imagination? What more inspiration do you need?

    Who cares about these other characters that youre refering to? if there not going to be in your book? then why do you even mention them!
     

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