I: THE FIRST ACT: Main characters and the Incident--The first act is to establish main characters, their relationships, and their place and time--"begin where the story begins." I had a terrible habit to break-- in which I felt I should explain and describe the coming story to the reader. Wrong, wrong, wrong.
The opening is the "hook," and it bodes well if we spend some time working on that very first sentence or paragraph.
Throughout the first act, the main character is involved in or aware of some incident that leads to a turning point. This turning point ensure the main character's life will never be the same, that he will confront this issue until the end of the story. He has a problem, an enemy, or a question to solve, and his life now revolves around such an issue.
II: THE SECOND ACT: Action and Character Development--During the second act, the main character finds himself confronted with some entity that appears to thwart his goal. This may be in the form of a person, force of nature, or even an internal personal problem. In fact, the main character cannot solve the problem easily because he might not have the skills to do so. He must go through a learning process to repair his predicament. In doing so, he may need the help of another character in the form of another major character or a mentor.
III: THE THIRD ACT: Climax and Resolution--Now, during the third act, the main characters reach a turning point, intensifying tensions and reaching a conclusion. The character, as well as any others connected to him, find their way, a new direction, or a new life.
****This is a simplified version of many articles and books written on the subject. This much is the skeleton framework I try to follow, and I find it amazing that often a story naturally takes this route. In a romance novel, the skeleton framework is boy meets girl, boy and girl face dissension and part, and boy and girl make up and live happily ever after.
Act I: In my novella with PRP, Starr Bright and Conrad Taylor own neighboring ranches. They have a working relationship when necessary. Otherwise they stay away from each other. But one day Starr visits Conrad to ask for help.
Act II: Conrad steels himself to act casual and uninterested in her as he rides to her ranch. A man with a small herd of horses to sell is soon to arrive, and Conrad promised Starr to be there. She doesn't seem to need help selecting the horses, so why does she want him there? He soon learns the reason. The seller is a Spaniard as Starr is a Spaniard. The visiting man wants more from her than to sell his stock. Conrad intervenes, violence ensues, but when the visitor leaves, so does Conrad.
Act III: Alone, Starr decides to ride to Conrad's ranch and visit. The visit doesn't go according to her plan, so she returns home to wait...and wonder. Conrad, though, now understands his deep feelings for Starr and decides what he wants from her and hopes she wants the same thing.
Starr laughed low in her throat. "Oh, I don't think I'll need a man to make the decision for me. I know all about stallions, or studs, as you say. However, I have asked Mr. Taylor here to accompany and advise me."
Conrad remained silent. You did? You asked me to advise you?
He wanted to laugh, but in truth, he was enormously pleased.
With no expression, he nodded slightly to her. "Be glad to help."
There was that tiny smile again, the one that was teasing, while at the same time a little sarcastic. Truth be known, he'd probably crawl through the burning fires of hell to get to her.
AMAZON LINK: Starr Bright--a 99cent novella.
Celia Yeary-Romance...and a little bit 'o Texas
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