The Best Plotting Method for Pantsers

I have always followed the basic plot structure, which I talked about in my last preptober post. But since then I have tried other plotting methods and structures and I have come upon one that I think is perfect for pantsers.

Introducing… *Dramatic music* THE THREE ACT PLOT STRUCTURE!!!

This method is perfect for pantsers because it allows you to easily lay out the foundation of your entire plot without needing to craft each scene.

I don’t like to spend a lot of time on my outline so the more complete the plot structure is the easier I find outlining.

First, let’s go over the elements of a plot. 

  • First comes the Exposition, which is the introduction. I have a post on writing expositions which you can find right here.
  • Next is the Inciting Incident, which is the event that forces your characters on their journey.
  • And then there’s the Rising Action, which builds the tension for the climax
  • The Climax is the peak of the conflict, the ‘ah’ moment in your story. 
  • Then comes the Falling Action, in which things start slowing down and you begin to wrap the story up. 
  • And finally you have the Resolution, the end of your story. 

 This forms your basic plot structure. The diagram you see on your screen is an example of this structure. You might have heard me talk about this a few times. This method is great for plotters, as they have the will and ability to extensively plan out their novel and won’t need a detailed layout, but for pantsers this method won’t be as effective. 

What we need is the three act plot structure. If you work better with a rough outline than too much or nothing at all then this will be perfect for you! 

The three act structure is the easiest method for a complete outline that still leaves room for pantsing. 

This structure is split into three parts: The beginning, the middle and the end, or the Setup, the Confrontation, and the Resolution. With each part having its own Climax.

How To Plan Your Novel Using The Three-Act Structure – Writer's Edit

Act One

In act one you will have the exposition, inciting incident, and your first plot point 

Act Two

In act two there will be one or more obstacles, the midpoint, and the climax of act two.

Act Three

And in act three there will be the climax of act three, and obstacle, the wrap up, and the end  

This is the order in which I learned to use this method.

I’m in no way an expert on this method, but I hope you fond this useful!

Thanks a bunch!

— Nerd

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