On the Fourth Act

The most basic structure for a story is the three-act rising-action-to-climax. They teach it in high school. It works because it hits the beats that conform to emotional expectations that people have.

But it’s not the only structure that can be.

I mentioned earlier this week when I finally got Chapter XII finished that it was time for the fourth act. I also called it the denouement, which isn’t entirely accurate. Denouements are short. But this fourth act will have a falling action kind of effect.

But it will also contain action. An act implies action, something significant. And even though a major moment occurred, perhaps a central moment, there’s more for the character to absorb.

Really, there’s something of a fifth act/epilogue in the last chapter. It’s like a Shakespeare play.


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