Posted on 07/30/2019 at 03:00 PM by Sadye Scott-Hainchek

Writers who seek middle ground between full-blown outlines and complete improvisation have another option.

Zara Altair compares the four-act structure to the poles of a tent — they prop the whole thing up.

So don’t think about a beginning, middle, and end; think about the setup/complication, the conflict/rising action, the crisis, and the climax/wrapup.

Altair further breaks down the four acts of a novel (specifically for mysteries, though you could easily apply this to other genres) in a recent post on her blog.

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