There are the acts in a story:
ACT I Intro
ACT II Mayhem Ensures
ACT III Resolution
1. Intro to the world (like the intro to the Shire)
#1 key moment ~ intro to the voice
2. First clash with the antagonist
3. First decision (leave the shire)
#2 key moment ~ The hero’s fatal flaw
4. Intro subplot
a. It needs a purpose
b. Works into the resolution
c. Could be conflict, info, parallel plots, suspense, etc
#3 key moment ~ subplot must have a purpose
5. Hero confronts THE conflict (I’ll take the ring)
a. Is it unexpected?
b. Is it a turning point?
c. Is the hero wildly unprepared?
#4 key moment ~ Does your reader know what both your hero and your villain want?
#5 key moment ~ Are the stakes high??
1. Antagonist shows his strength; he must be stronger than the hero
2. Allies appear for the hero
3. Problems and more problems
a. RIGHT HERE if you have writer’s block, your characters don’t have enough to do
4. Crisis point ~ No turning back (Gandalf dies, Frodo can’t go back)
a. #6 key moment ~ Exact moment your hero can’t turn back
5. Dark night moment ~ protagonist goes on their own to move forward
a. #7 key moment ~ when all is lost, what gets your hero to her feet again?
1. Resolution of the problem defined in Act I
a. The hero might lose but…
b. The hero is victorious
a. How has the hero grown?
#8 key moment ~ Reader is satisfied and all the threads have been closed