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Act 3, 8 Sequences Story Structure Guide

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ACT 1: This act is the beginning of your story. It contains two sequences.

SEQUENCE I: PRESENT STATE & INCITING INCIDENT.

The present state is usually known as the Status Quo. It is the introduction to the existing lives of your characters. It is the part where you tell the characters' backgrounds. At this point, you must establish the setting of your characters before you present your inciting incident that will set your story in motion.

The inciting incident arrives at the beginning after introducing the main characters' lives (Status Quo). It is where you will start telling the story inside your book and the point where the story will move forward. This event must make the characters' lives unbalanced, an event that will ruin the existing setting of their lives (Status Quo) and will make everything upside down. At this point, you must hook your readers to reading more. Sequence one should end by exposing the primary conflict.


SEQUENCE 2: PREDICAMENT AND LOCK-IN.

The predicament is an unpleasant problem or situation. This sequence is the part where you will introduce the primary conflict of your story, which your characters have no way out, are prevented from leaving, and have no choice but to face because they are Lock-in. This unpleasant situation you will reveal should be the most difficult one to resolve in your story that will settle in the end.

If in case you are facing any trouble writing using other story structures to outline your story, you may try this. It may be the right fit for you. It is more precise.

ACT 2: This act is the middle, and it consists of four sequences.

SEQUENCE 3: FIRST OBSTACLE / FIRST CULMINATION.

This sequence is where the stakes will start to rise and when the first obstacle will get in the main characters’ way to block them from reaching the goal. In this part of your story, the main characters' lives change, and they will meet small obstacles they need to surpass to allow them to reach their goal. Here, the tensions build, and the characters do not have a choice but to react to it.


SEQUENCE 4: MIDPOINT.

This sequence is the turning point and goes when your character is planning to achieve something and expecting it to happen but will not. A decisive moment where your characters deal with the primary conflict. The moment when the characters will think that things will go as they want, but will not, and things will go the opposite way. Your character will do something to resolve things. All these will lead them to realize something that will bring changes to them.

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SEQUENCE 5: RISING ACTION.

This sequence is when the stakes and tension should keep rising. Challenges will be more difficult to overcome. Usually, the main characters reject the growth they earn. They will be in denial of any better changes and demand to keep things as it is. It is the right time to test relationships as secrets reveal. Your main characters will undergo a big test in this area of your story. It is also the moment where usually a secondary plot arises.

ACT 3: This act contains two sequences that holds the end.

SEQUENCE 6: MAIN CULMINATION / BIGGEST OBSTACLE.

This sequence is the heaviest moment when the characters seem to be overpowered by the conflicts. It is the most painful and problematic of all scenes. You could make this the lowest or the highest point of the characters. Also, typically when the primary conflict resolves, followed by a new one.


SEQUENCE 7: CLIMAX, TWIST.

This sequence is when your readers will learn whether the characters succeed or fail toward achieving the goal. They will deal with the leftover of the primary problem of the story and acquire a new objective.


SEQUENCE 8: RESOLUTION.

All questions get answered, and the principal conflict gets resolved. In this area of the story, you should show what happens to the characters after failing or succeeding and what changes it brings them as the story ends.

Closing note:

Some writers can do this as effortlessly as counting 1, 2, 3, but some may find this hard to apply in writing their story. You can try this out and see if it will work for you.

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