It's Andrew back with a few tips on simple story elements that can help you come up with a solid outline. I use these steps in almost all of my story projects. There are only three, and they can be often referenced as Act 1 , 2, and 3 in a play or movie. These will be very vague to help you fill in the gaps on your own story.
ACT1: Breaking the Norm
This first act is all about the call to adventure or coming out of your comfort zone. The main character should be seen doing their daily or regular routine. What is the NORM for them? Why do they do it? Are they happy? Or sad? Do they want to leave? Do they not want to leave? Although the answers to these are not that import, it is important that you do answer them. The routine should be changed by a dramatic event that pushes the character out of the norm and into Act 2 which is often seen as the conflict act. Whether this character is dragged into it or doing it by choice, their everyday life must be impacted to put them on a different, more challenging road.
ACT2: Learning and Conflict
This segment is often the longest because it sets up the conflict and brings the main character to their most severe or worst position. How low can they get? How defeated can they be? How much have they lost? Usually the build up to this is in a montage of learning and growing. How does the player or hero or main character learn to take on challenges? What skills and powers do they acquire to assist them? After a lot of trial and error they become strong enough to at least face their ultimate fear or enemy. They do not have to win here. Often the main character actually loses everything or at least appears to. It is then in this darkest moment they realize true importance and true potential.
ACT3: Resolution and Change
The final act is the climax and the final boss being defeated. The world is safe or your character's life is back in order. They have regained control using everything they learned along the way. However, because of the conflict and the change in which the character goes through, nothing can ever be the same again. Depending on the theme of your story, your character can either make things better than before, or make things worse. Ending on a high or low note can be a bitter sweet kind of pay off depending on how you have built your character and your story. Either way, the NORM they broke from back in Act one can no longer exist. Even if the world around the character goes back to normal, at the very least the character is not the same. They are either stronger or weaker than before. More heroic or more evil. Nothing should ever be the exact same as when it started, otherwise what was the point of it all?
The best part about story is that you can have your own ingredients for this recipe. No two stories are exactly like, nor should they be. It's up to you on how you fill in these gaps and encourage change and improvement on others you influence. It's how stories make us better people and inspire us to be greater!
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