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Three Act Rule

During my journey of writing, I received tidbits of advice that make this road a smoother path. The three suggestions that impact me the most I now call my Three Act Rule. I continue to use this triangular strategy to become better at my craft. The Three Act Rule is simple; learn, network, & master. As a writer, I know you need a second pair of eyes to read your work.

An editor’s job isn’t just about proofreading. We should consider them manuscript doctors. They are the fact-checkers and examiners of readability; focusing on the process, consistency, redundancy, flow, and transition. These Doctors of Writing help keep the order of characters, story-lines, and pace of our overall content. Professional authors have editors, but what if you can’t afford one? Basic copyediting, Heavy, Substantive & Developmental editing can cost anywhere between $25 - $80 per hour at a pace of 1-10 pages an hour. It can become expensive. What if you are a newbie, not signed with a publishing company, or prefer going the self-publishing route and must keep expenses low - Do you take from peter to pay paul so you can have an editor? Will your financial plan include one?

Using writing apps may be helpful, but it will not catch everything. It can not replace an editor. Joining a writing critique group may be helpful too. Having a book editor is an expense you should consider worthy. Their expertise often means the difference between mediocre and exceptional work. If you hire an editor, make sure it’s a suitable fit! When I began taking writing seriously, I hired one and was sorely disappointed. What a colossal waste of money. She was not as well versed as her claim. She suggested some reading material because I am a newbie. One book was Eats, Shoots & Leaves. The book had some funny bits, but it’s not instructional. A credit to the author is her ability to show what will happen without proper punctuation. I didn’t find it as helpful. Her need to include a rather unnecessary point about proper punctuation in a sentence using the N-word also offended me.

I learned a costly lesson and had to hire another editor. Reading that book as a newbie lead me on a journey for outstanding books about writing. I believe it’s important for writers to know their craft. Reading, taking courses, and working within critique groups are all helpful tools you should have in your writer’s chest. I am listening to On Writing by Stephen King. It’s one book I selected for my annual reads this year. I may do a quick review when I finish reading. Below I will list a few books I have studied on writing and others that a few writer friends highly recommended.

As writers or whatever artistry you create. There must be a time when you sit back and learn to enhance your work, whether by taking a class, working with others, or just by examining the work of the masters. Now how does this apply to you if your journey is not one in the world of arts? Believe me, it does! Whatever your career path, there is always something new and exciting to learn that will help you improve. Look, whatever journey you are on now, someone else came before you. I mean, let’s look at it this way. Say you want to get into real estate? You will take courses, get licensed, work with others as you build your skills, and if you are smart - study the great real estate moguls out here. If it’s building your business… take some courses, become a part of a network of entrepreneurs and look for someone that has an established business and it’s excelling… learn from them.

You don’t have to be an artist. The Three Act Rule applies to your journey too. Just make it yours. As a writer, you must read and savor the works of master authors. Value their techniques and learn from their mistakes.

Let me know what you think. How can my Three Act Rule help you? If you’ve used something similar, let me know how it’s working for you. Remember, we are on this journey together!

As always, Stay Curious

And to my writer friends–Live, Love and Write.


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