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Three-act structure

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Three-act structure

The classic plot:
Act 1. The protagonist's life is knocked out of whack. He confronts an obstacle which he is locked in to solving or being vanquished by. In great literature the obstacle is tied directly into a specific theme.
Act 2. The protagonist investigates the obstacle, tries to solve or conquer it, and is repulsed, leaving him worse off than before. The situation is desperate.
Act 3. Using the knowledge gained in Act 2, the protagonist formulates a new plan and risks all. The story's resolution may be heroic (the main character succeeds and the reader is uplifted), tragic (the main character is destroyed but the reader learns something about the theme from his destruction), or nihilistic (the main character is destroyed and no one learns anything). (Aristotle) (Original source: http://www.sfwa.org/2009/06/being-a-glossary-of-terms-useful-in-critiquing-science-fiction/ ) (e)



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