I recently attended a workshop through the SCBWI titled, Screenwriting Tips for Children’s Book Authors, by Michael Mahin, M.D. He began explaining the simplicity of the Three Act Structure, which is the most commonly known structure for screenwriting.

• Act 1 (25%) – Pose the question.
• Act 2 (25-75%) – Deliberation
• Act 3 (75-100%) – Answer the question.

Then the lecture got really exciting when Dr. Mahin spoke in detail about Joseph Campbell’s Mythic Superstructure. I’d been studying Campbell’s writing structure for a couple of months prior to the workshop, so it was nice to have someone break it down in such easy-to-follow details. Overall, the structure has 6 parts.

• Set-UP (0-10%)
• New Situation/Debate (10-25%)
• Progress/Mid-Point (25-50%)
• Complications & Higher Stakes (50-75%)
• Final Push (75-90%)
• Aftermath/Finale (90-100%)

In addition to explaining each section and giving us lots of great examples, Dr. Mahin talked briefly about the Sequence Approach and Preparation by Contrast. We also had the opportunity to do a short writing exercise that allowed us to brainstorm our own writing scenarios.

For those who would like more info on this topic, there's a ton of info online. Two recommended books for those who really want to learn more are The Hero with a Thousand Faces, by Joseph Campbell and Screenwriting: The Sequence Approach, by Paul Joseph Gulino.

Stay tuned for more workshop recaps coming next week.