Act IIThe Complications

Act II is known as the Act of Complications. Act II is the longest act. It consists of approximately 60 pages (30-90). In Act II you must set up all of the obstacles that stand in the path of your main character. The more stumbling blocks you put in his path to prevent him from reaching his goal, the more your main character must struggle to reach it. In Act II the conflict and tension must escalate to a higher point than in Act I.

By the end of Act II it looks as if "all is lost" for your main character. The audience is on the edge of their seats not knowing what will happen to the hero. Your main character is at his lowest and most desperate point. It looks as if he is has nowhere to go.

In the last scene of Act II he is at the point of no return and must take some new and dramatic action. He is forced to make a new decision that leads him to do something different. He is really at the crossroads or turning point. This act is probably the most difficult for people to write, because you need to keep the conflict moving and increasing with intensity.

It seems when writers get stuck it's usually in the middle of the second act. You need to have every scene build-up in conflict and complications and lead into the next building greater suspense and tension. This involves the best of craft and takes a lot of practice, so that your second act doesn't fall apart in the middle.

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