Plot: Act 3

ACT 3:

Like the two before it, act 3 has five steps:

  • B Plot Convergence
  • New Plan
  • Destruction
  • Point of Desperation
  • Turning Point 3

B Plot Convergence:

The B plot converges with the main plot.

They twist, intersect, and crossover with one another. Like the B plot introduction in act 2, this step is movable. So you don’t have to have it occur here at the beginning of act 3. You could push it to the middle, or even to the end of act 3.

Why are we having the B plot converge with the main plot? Because as we approach the middle of the story, we need these two threads to come together into an integrated whole. That way the ending will satisfy both stories at once.

New Plan:

By this point, the original plan from act 2 has either failed, or succeeded. Either way…

We need a new plan in order to move forward and achieve our goal.

Destruction:

Like the “shenanigans” of act 2, this step will make up the majority of act 3.
Act 3 is all about the negative expression of the story’s seed.

Everything starts to go badly.

Everything is torn down. Destroy it all. This destruction culminates in a…

Point of Desperation:

Your character is at their darkest.

Their most vulnerable. They’re on the ropes, and they don’t think they’re gonna make it. Until…

Turning Point 3:

Something big happens. The story shifts in a new direction.

Just like turning points 1 and 2. This shift could be your main character reaching a new low, or it could be that an opportunity arises that they seize onto like a life raft. Either way, something big happens that closes out act 3, and pushes the story fully into act 4.

Let’s apply all of this to our bank robbery example:

ACT 3:

  • B Plot Convergence
  • New Plan
  • Destruction
  • Point of Desperation
  • Turning Point 3

B Plot Convergence:
We know that at the top of the story, Recruiter-Guy’s daughter was kidnapped. But now, the kidnappers are targeting our main character’s family as well. Wah-oh!

New Plan:
After the bank robbery got messy, our main character got away. His buddy wasn’t so lucky. Our main character devises a plan to break him out of police custody.

Destruction:
But this new plan brings nothing but further destruction.
While executing the new plan to break Recruiter-Guy out, our main character kills more cops, the getaway car is destroyed, he loses half of their stolen money, and to top it all off — he’s been shot in the shoulder. Our main character is seriously scrambling.
All of this destruction culminates in our main character reaching a…

Point of Desperation:
Our characters are speeding away in a getaway car. If they reach the highway they can get to a plane, and get out of the country. But then they see it — a police blockade. A multitude of officers, concrete barriers, cars, they’ve even got a helicopter circling above.

Turning Point 3:
Our characters stop. There’s nowhere to run. The police commissioner himself approaches the car. He reveals that he’s not only the police commissioner. He’s also – the leader of the kidnappers!

Dun dun dunnnnnn!