Digging through the Plot layout book I have been perusing to help aid in my plot layout work, I found an interesting fundamental structure
that I tested on several movies that I know very well, namely the original Star Wars (Episode IV) A New Hope.
It basically lays out a plot line thus, according to page 26. It even went so far as to break down a rough location for
each of the items as if they were placed in a 3-act screenplay or play. I noticed that if your hero hasn’t “opened a can of worms” aka going on his/her quest against the antagonist, then Act II has not yet begun.
One other thing I will add to the Act III items are the following, either using one or both, depending on how much action is required in the middle of your novel.
- Indicate the character(s) who has a life-altering change, (either immediate or gradual) by the time Act III starts.
- Create a conflict action that requires the author to eliminate a protagonist or one of his/her allies.
I have found that it will often create the “dark” moment or the feelings of revenge/retribution the protagonist needs to
adapt and push passed in order to become a better and more “full” character.