Write Your Novel Step by Step (Home Page)

Write Your Novel
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By Melanie Anne Phillips
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~ Step 88 ~

Plot - Act Three

This is the act of the climax.  The whole of the third act is building up to that point, creating tension and suspense.  This is what your entire novel has been leading up to.  You want your third act to be more fast-paced than the rest of your story, and a lot more suspenseful.

The most compelling stories build the forces for and against the goal so that each becomes stronger and stronger.  At the point of climax each is so powerful that something has to give - the tension is just too great.  And yet, since they are balanced, the outcome is still uncertain.

The progression of the third act of plot is often heavily influenced by genre.  For example, a compelling mystery might be designed to spread suspicion even wider than before, rather than narrowing in on just a few characters.  Therefore, the sense of building tension may spring from increasing confusion, rather than understanding.

In all cases, act three must involve all loose ends of your plot and draw all dynamic forces to a head.

In this step, review your plot exposition material and list the plot points you wish reveal to your readers toward the end of your novel.

After you have completed this step there should be no unused plot exposition material remaining.  If there is, rework your lists for acts one, two and three to incorporate it.