This week, Alida, Kathryn, and Robert continue their discussion of story structure, this time focusing on act II. What is act II? Why does it sound so easy but prove so difficult to write? How can you avoid common pitfalls, like the soggy middle? And more, much more!




If you haven’t heard it yet, make sure you go back and listen to part one of this conversation here.

What is Act 2 and why do writers struggle with it? How should you plot Act 2 and what questions should you ask yourself in each and every scene? How do you use subplots and supporting characters to flesh out Act 2? Remember you are writing from the inciting incident to the beginning of Act 3, not all the way to the climax. And that turning point into your climax should be awesome. Act 2 is not going to look great at the end of your first draft, it’s all about weaving in details, subplots, and revelations. Just make sure it gets the attention that it deserves!

What we talked about:

What is Act 2? (0:50)

Why do writers struggle with Act II? (1:18)

Can you say that Act 2 centers on the Antagonist? (3:05)

Ask yourself – what are the stakes and why do we care? (5:05)

Can you view Act 2 in a linear fashion? How should you plan your Act II? (6:07)

How do you keep escalating your middle? (8:42)

Don’t ignore your subplots and supporting characters. (10:55)

You probably won’t figure it all out in first draft. (12:35)

Our lives aren’t singular, what makes your character rich should also enrich your plot. (14:08)

What is the inciting incident of Act 3? (15:30)

How should your character approach the climax? (19:05)

Your Act 3 inciting incident is the turning point, your climax must be do or die (regardless of stakes). (23:30)


Things we mentioned:

Kung Fu Panda

Want more about these topics? Check out:

SWRT 075 Story Structure 

Have thoughts, questions, other examples? Join the conversation at the Story Works Writers Facebook group

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