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Writing Forum | WritersDigest.com • The Hero's Journey vs The Three Act Structure : Writers' Block Party • Writing Forum | WritersDigest.com
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The Hero's Journey vs The Three Act Structure

PostPosted: Thu Sep 29, 2016 7:40 pm
by devildogwhite
Just out of curiosity, do any of you use either of these structures when writing a novel? Obviously you're not going to follow them to the letter, but I was reading the front page article about designing your novel for films and one of the big points Ken Atchity makes is "Make sure a dramatist looking at your book will clearly see three well-defined acts: act one (the setup), act two (rhythmic development, rising and falling action), and act three (climax leading to conclusive ending)." Now I'm definitely not trying to write with the delusion of making the next Harry Potter empire, but I wonder if my story-telling in general would be better if I tried harder to adhere to one of these structures. Any thoughts or comments on the matter?

Re: The Hero's Journey vs The Three Act Structure

PostPosted: Thu Sep 29, 2016 10:41 pm
by shadowwalker
Maybe this is one of those things where one can know too much about the technical aspects of writing - or just worry about it too much. I don't pay attention to formal structure when I'm writing. I tell a story, and it will follow whichever "structure" suits it. And if some Hollywood producer thinks it will make a good movie, they'll find someone to "fix it" so it'll follow whatever structure a movie is supposed to have.

Re: The Hero's Journey vs The Three Act Structure

PostPosted: Fri Sep 30, 2016 7:08 am
by cynicalwanderer

Re: The Hero's Journey vs The Three Act Structure

PostPosted: Sun Oct 02, 2016 8:32 pm
by cigarettesandsand
Honestly; I don't think I've ever tried to follow a structure when writing a story I hoped would turn into a novel. But then again, I've never actually finished a large writing project like that before. Perhaps I'll have to give it a whack.

Re: The Hero's Journey vs The Three Act Structure

PostPosted: Sun Oct 02, 2016 9:36 pm
by Rosedarling
There's no harm in trying to write your novel that way. It's all about 'timing' in movies to make the scene work. This is true in books too, to a point, only they call it 'build up' to a peek. Like waves on the beach as they change from low tide to high tide, and everything in between.

Re: The Hero's Journey vs The Three Act Structure

PostPosted: Sun Oct 02, 2016 9:58 pm
by devildogwhite

Re: The Hero's Journey vs The Three Act Structure

PostPosted: Mon Oct 03, 2016 8:44 am
by shadowwalker

Re: The Hero's Journey vs The Three Act Structure

PostPosted: Tue Oct 04, 2016 10:56 pm
by Niels Cornelis
Hi there,

I'm new here. So if I say something stupid, forgive me ;) .

I have read many books on the craft of writing, and they are all very useful. But, indeed, you can get somewhat tensed about doing it right when you become familiar with so many rules. For me it was liberating to read Stephen King's On writing and Living. He states that it's all about the story. The less planning and plotting the better. The rough edges you can work off in a later draft.

I'm not saying this is a good choice for everybody (I definitely need some structure to start with, or else I lose my way), but it was freeing to read that good books have been written by just starting off and—while writing—seeing what happens. According to King, if you don't know exactly where the story is going (even when you have a vague idea), then neither does the reader. This may create a more natural flow in the story.

Regards,
Niels

Re: The Hero's Journey vs The Three Act Structure

PostPosted: Tue Oct 04, 2016 11:11 pm
by shadowwalker

Re: The Hero's Journey vs The Three Act Structure

PostPosted: Wed Oct 05, 2016 2:07 pm
by TwoStepCharlie
If I'm writing a love-letter to someone I don't add any structure or forethought at all. It just comes pouring out. But this also means that I'm writing gibberish which will never mean anything to anyone. (After all--what does any girl these days, care for what is in a man's heart?)

If I'm writing a professional product, then I go through as many drafts as possible to make sure that the endproduct --to some extent, even if only superficially----meets current industry expectations.

Why is this better? Because a professional product can be sold. Maybe sold for a lot o' goldang money. If you make a big sale you can then take some of that money and send it to the girl you love instead of the love letter. No girl on earth will reject such a letter. You're sure to hear back from her after that.