Study Essay? Improve Your Creativity with a Three-Act Structure


One of the most challenging parts of essay writing is organization. Even though, instructors often teach the introduction, body, and conclusion part of the essay, students often fail to remember this formula. Part of the problem with essay writing is that students want to be creative when they write and they feel that essay writing does not allow creativity. They couldn’t be more wrong. Instead of struggling with the same essay-writing model and fighting against creativity, students can use the three-act structure that is common to playwriting.

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The Three-Act Structure: What Is It?

A study essay can be completed using the three-act structure that includes the set-up, confrontation, and resolution. This is the formula used in television dramas and movies – especially trilogies. Most fictional three-act plots include a setup that provides background information on the characters and inciting an incident, a confrontation that includes the turning point and falling action, and the resolution that ties up the story. This type of structure might not seem to fit with an essay, but with a little creative thought, it can.

Know the Strategy

The three-act formula works well with any study essay. For example, the main character can be the central thesis, and the set-up or the introduction provides the necessary background the reader needs to understand the problem. The resolution is the conclusion of the paper, where you tie up the loose ends. The middle of the essay is the confrontation, where you develop the argument and show the reader why your thinking is correct.

An interesting way to look at the essay is through the lens of the Wizard of Oz and its locations. Consider Kansas as the background or set-up of the essay. The tornado is the inciting incident and Oz as the confrontation. The resolution returns to Kansas. If you remember that the best part of the movie is filmed in color and the duller parts are in black-and-white, then you should be able to remember to make the confrontation longer than the set-up and resolution.

While working on various study essay projects, students often get hung up on how to organize their papers. Using this simple three-act process will make it easier for them to focus on what they have to say, rather than how they organize. The set-up should set the scene and include the claim, which will be the inciting incident that gets the rest of the essay going. Like any television show or movie, the set-up should provide enough information for the readers want to continue reading.

After the thesis, the confrontation should develop the claim of the paper. It should include evidence in the form of quotes, statistics, data, and anything else that will move the argument along. It should also include the problems that surround the claim, and those should be presented in the topic sentences of each body paragraph. This should be the longest part of the essay.

Finally, the last paragraph of the essay should resolve the argument by discussing the most important pieces of evidence and explaining how they tie up the thesis. This part of the paper should not be very long and should not introduce any new information – just like a TV show or movie.

So, become more creative in your essay writing. Learn from the screenwriters to make an essay well-structured and interesting.

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