The Basic Three Act Structure
The simplest building blocks of a good story are found in the Three Act Structure. Separated by Plot Points, Act 1 (Beginning), Act 2 (Middle), Act 3 (End) refer not to where in time in the story they lie but instead fundamental stages along the way.
In the beginning, you introduce the reader to the settings, the characters, and the situation (conflict) they find themselves in, and their goal. Plot Point 1 is a situation that drives the main character from their “normal” life towards some different conflicting situations that the story is about. Great stories often begin at Plot Point 1, thrusting the main character right into the thick of the things, but they never really leave out Act 1, instead of filling it in with back story along the way
In the Middle, the story develops through a series of complications and obstacles, each leading to a mini-crisis. Though each of these crises is temporarily resolved, the story leads inevitably to an ultimate crisis – the Climax. As the story progresses, there is a rising and falling of tension with each crisis, but an overall rising tension as we approach the Climax. The resolution of the climax is Plot Point 2.
In the end, the Climax and the loose ends of the story are resolved during Denouement. Tension rapidly dissipates because it is nearly impossible to sustain a reader’s interest very long after the climax. Finish your story and get out.