How To Plan a Narrative Essay Using a Three-Act Structure? [Learn With Example]

Three-Act Structure
A narrative essay is a type of essay that tells a story. In most cases, the story it tells is about the personal experiences of the writer. It allows the writer to get personal, creative, and descriptive at the same time. But how can you write and plan a perfect narrative essay? Yes, the answer to this question lies in the use of a three-act structure. This structure is perhaps the most common technique in the academic world to tell stories and tell them in an effective way.

As you are here reading this article, it means you do not know about this structure. Well, there is no need to worry. Today, you will learn everything about the three-act structure. In today’s article, we will define this structure, explain the three acts needed to make an essay plan and discuss its example. So, let’s start with the definition.

What Is A Three-Act Structure?

The three-act structure is a model for writing fictional stories or, simply, narrative essays. This structure basically divides the whole story into three different parts or acts. The steps are often known as Setup, Confrontation, and Resolution. It is a structure around which the whole story that you are describing revolves. The complete story described in the narrative essay can be unfolded using this structure. Hence, this is what a three-point or act structure is.

What Are The Elements Of A Three-Act Structure?

After reading the information above, you now have a good understanding of the three-act structure. However, you still do not know about its three core acts in detail. If you are fond of reading stories, then you must be familiar with those three acts. However, if you are not, then a brief description of the three acts is as follows:

1. Setup – The First Act

The first act of a three-act structure is known as the setup. This is the act where the story begins. It is the first section of a narrative essay, and here you detail the basic information about the story. For example, you explain what the story is about and what its characters are. When you are performing the first act, make sure to discuss the setting of the story too. The setup is also called the introduction of the narrative essay. This is further divided into three subsections, and a brief description of each is as follows:
  • Exposition. In this section, you familiarise your readers with the story. It is the subsection where you describe your protagonist.
  • Inciting incident. This is where you discuss the conflict of the story. It is necessary because it is the conflict that drives the story further.
  • Major plot point. The third subsection of the act setup is a discussion on the major plot point. This propels the reader into act two.

2. Confrontation – The Second Act

The second act, i.e., confrontation, is the longest part of your narrative essay. It is where most of the information comes in your essay, and it is also the section where the writer struggles a lot. The reason is that it is very easy to get things dull in this act of the three-act structure. It is the section where the characters grow and change the most. The reason is that they are forced to face their fears and get rid of all the obstacles. Hence, utmost care is needed to craft this section. However, if you cannot pay attention, you must hire cheap essay writing services from a reliable essay writing firm.

3. Resolution – The Third Act

Resolution is the third act of the three-act structure. It is where everything comes to an end, and this section is probably the shortest section of a narrative essay. Everything just wraps up in this section. For example, character development should become clear in this act. Always remember that the above two acts have all been leading to this final act. Hence, remember this, and plan the narrative essay’s third act accordingly.

An Example Of The Three-Act Structure

A perfect example of three-act structure is the Star Wars film. We are talking about the original Stars Wars film, which was released in 1977. George Lucas adopted the three-act structure in this film. The film starts with the backstory and then takes us to the main plot 1. The second act starts when Luke discovers that his aunt and uncle were murdered. The characters grow here. Act three starts when Luck and his comrade take revenge in the final battle.


To sum up, the three-act structure is a way to describe the stories in any kind of narrative writing. The benefit of using this structure is that every action starts and ends with a purpose. Hence, read all three acts involved in this structure and plan your next narrative essay based on the discussion above.

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