The 4-Act Plot Structure

There are lots of plot structures out there. The 3-act structure, the brilliant Blake-Snyder Beat Sheet, and on and on. My current favorite is a four-act story structure from Larry Brooks’ Story Engineering, a book I highly recommend. Though when it comes to the finale, I prefer Blake-Snyder’s five-point finale described in his book Save the Cat (also fabulous for writers). Here’s an analysis of a four-act structure of Dead Until Dark, the first Sookie Stackhouse southern vampire novel, by Charlaine Harris.

Act 1: The first act sets the stakes for the hero (or heroine) and layers in the foreshadowing.

– Opening scene and hook. With the catalyst in the first scene, the action starts right away. As an example of this in a paranormal mystery, the first scene is where the hero finds the corpse. Or in Charlaine Harris’s Sookie Stackhouse series, a vampire walks into a bar… See More . . . 


Scroll to Top