Writing Exercises

Author Aerobics: Plot Challenge

One of the simplest plot structures is the three act structure. It’s likely what you were taught in school, and if you were me, you probably didn’t think much about it for a long time.

3 Act Structure via Musik Therapie
3 Act Structure via Musik Therapie

Elements of the 3 act structure:

  1. The beginning / introduction – Introduces the normal state of life.
  2. The initiating incident – First introduction to the main story conflict.
  3. The middle / rising action – Characters face challenges or crises that grow in intensity.
  4. The climax – the point at which the main conflict must be solved.
  5. The ending / denouement / resolution) – A return to a new normal state.

The Challenge:

In 1000 words or less, write a piece of fiction that includes all the elements of the 3 act structure, including at least one crisis in the rising action. To make things more interesting use the word “zeppelin” somewhere in the story.

For more information on the three act structure check out this excellent writeup at Musik Therapie.


This is the first of my weekly fiction challenges. Here’s what it’s all about:

Author Aerobics is a mini fiction writing workshop open to anyone. On Mondays I’ll post a writing prompt that focuses on one element of fiction. I will post my results on Friday. If you decide to join in feel free to post a link to the writing in the comments.

There’s only one rule: set a time limit.

Here’s why I’m doing this. It’s time to exercise those creative muscles

Thanks for suggesting the name Stephen!


Post exercise recap!

Here we have two very different steampunk tales. The first features an action packed airship battle. The second is a quieter story set in Colonial Hong Kong.

Those who have answered the challenge:

14 Comments

  1. Ah, sounds brilliant and I like the name. Nice alliteration sound to it. Due to busy schedule I won’t be doing this one with you as much as I wanted. But I am interested to see where it goes.

    1. I hope you don’t mind, but I feel compelled to use your last name in the story that’s percolating in my brain related to this challenge. I can change it, if need be, but I like the ring of it.

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