I love watching movies and TV shows and then figuring out what makes them work so well as stories, in order to transfer those ideas across to novels.
One place where I feel like I've learned an insane amount about stories in general is through this youtube channel: LESSONS FROM THE SCREENPLAY.
The guy who runs this channel, Michael, provides his viewers with extremely thoughtful lessons on how to make great stories, teaching directly from existing screenplays. (Obviously movies and books are different mediums, but there is so much to learn from film and TV storytelling that can be utilised when you write fiction).
Something Michael said during a recent lesson (which can be viewed here), which is based off the movie: Girl with a Dragon Tattoo, really stuck with me.
So I decided to write it down here before I totally forget I ever heard it at all.... because that's how I roll apparently.
So my understanding of story structure is as follows:
Very often, a story is made up of three Acts, and each of these Acts is formed from a bunch of scenes.
The three Act structure is highly recognisable from most classic blockbuster movies, and generally it can be boiled down to the following:
Obviously this is very simplified, and not all stories are always going to be structured this way.
For instance, the LESSONS FROM A SCREENPLAY video I refer to above is talking about a five Act structure in storytelling.
So that's all great, but my main question was:
WHAT INGREDIENTS ACTUALLY FORM AN ACT WITHIN A STORY?
And Michael totally answered that within his video.
Here is my understanding of the ideas behind an Act:
An Act is a collection of scenes that drives your story forward.
Each Act is essentially a question.
For instance, will 'Whoever' gather the courage to try and do 'Whatever'?
And to answer that question (or lead to the next question that will drive your story forward), an Act usually includes the following ingredients:
Anyway, I found it all super interesting. :)
I hope you did too!!
Storytelling is the best!!!!