The Three Act Structure- End


 Finally we’ve reached the end! Your main character has faced a succession of challenges, or crises, increasing in difficulty, and now it’s time for the climax of your story. The climax signifies that we’ve emerged from the muddle in the middle and a conclusion is imminent. In my last post I mentioned the importance of the protagonist facing the climax themselves. It’s something they must handle. We learn a lot about the character from their reaction. Their previous challenges have changed them, they deal with the climax differently to how they would have done at the beginning of the story. 

 I’ve used Pride and Prejudice as an example throughout this series of blog posts, so let’s stick with that. The climax of the story is of course Darcy’s second proposal and Elizabeth’s acceptance. She has changed- recent experiences have taught her to know herself and him better and her reaction to the proposal is the complete opposite of what it was a few months previously. 

The finale of the climax should give a sense of resolution to the story, but it’s not the final scene. 

A story has a circular feel to it. The end should reflect the beginning. A story with a beginning that states ‘a single man in possession of a large fortune must be in want of a wife’ has to end with a marriage!  And remember the things you’ve set up throughout your story should be resolved by this point too. Your audience wants to come away feeling satisfied. The last image you create is the one that will stay in their minds. 

To finish this blog series off, let’s recap-

Lin Anderson’s Essential Checklist:

  • A story is a character in action. It’s all about do, not tell. 
  • Aristotle said every line should do at least one of three things. Define character, advance plot or create atmosphere. 
  • Does your story start in the right place? Perhaps the inciting incident has already happened and we’re reflecting on it. 
  • Why should your readers care about your main character? 
  • Are the protagonist’s motives clear? 
  • Is there enough conflict? Do the obstacles for your protagonist increase in importance? Do you really test them? 
  • Does the end reflect the beginning? 
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