27 Chapter Method Made Easy

How To Use The 27 Chapter Method Template on LivingWriter

The Three Act 27 Chapter Method is supposed to make your plotting easier, but when you first take a look at how to use it – you’d think otherwise. However, it’s incredibly useful. That’s why LivingWriter broke down each step to guide you through it as you write. Below we’ll get into detail about the method. But first, let’s take a look at how you can use it easily in LivingWriter.

1. When you open up LivingWriter, select 27 Chapter Method from the row of templates at the top of the page.

storyist review

2. Once you’re inside, you’ll see that the chapters are broken down into 3 acts. Each act is further broken down into 9 blocks. When you click on each block on the left sidebar, you will be able to view the instructions for what should take place in that block on the right sidebar. In the middle section, you will be able to type in your story.

27 chapter method

3. If you want to see an overview first, you can click on the Board button to scroll through and view all of the blocks at once. As it would be if you had written them down on index cards and pinned them to a cork board.

27 chapter method

This template will take you by the hand and walk you right through the 27 Chapter Method. But, we’ll go ahead and explain it to you here as well!

Breakdown of The 27 Chapter Method

This method was made popular by Kat O’Keefe, so we went ahead and used her instruction to help you use it. First of all, the story is broken into 3 acts. It is then further broken down into 9 chapters per act. Here’s an overview of those acts and chapters.

Chapter Overview

ACT I

  1. Intro
  2. Inciting Incident
  3. Immediate Reaction
  4. Reaction
  5. Action
  6. Consequence
  7. Pressure
  8. Pinch
  9. Push

ACT II

  1. New World
  2. Fun & Games
  3. Old Contrast
  4. Build Up
  5. Midpoint
  6. Reversal
  7. Consequence
  8. Trials
  9. Dedication

ACT III

  1. Calm Before The Storm
  2. Pinch
  3. Darkest Point
  4. Power Within
  5. Action
  6. Converge
  7. Battle
  8. Climax
  9. Resolution

Chapter Descriptions

Below is a description of what should happen in each chapter, with examples from a story from start to finish.

ACT I

  1. Intro: Introduce Hero and the ordinary world. Example: We meet Jane and Sarah, two sisters that hate each other. Jane is an overachiever and Sarah is a slacker.
  2. Inciting Incident: A problem disrupts the Hero’s life that will kick off the rest of the story. Example: Jane dies
  3. Immediate Reaction: The Hero deals with the inciting incident and/or the changes that result from the inciting incident. Example: After Jane dies, Sarah’s tattoo starts hurting and she sees visions of Jane. It seems Jane’s ghost is bound to Sarah’s tattoo.
  4. Reaction: Long-term reaction. The reader begins to understand just how the inciting incident will affect the Hero’s life. Example: Sarah freaks out. She doesn’t want to be haunted by Jane. She tries to find ways to exorcise her sister, but nothing works (refusal to the call to action). The sisters determine that Sarah needs to help Jane pass on by dealing with her unfinished business.
  5. Action: The Hero decides to act and makes a decision that will impact the rest of the story. Example: Sarah decides she must get herself into the elite program her sister was involved in.
  6. Consequence: The result of the decision made (see Action). Example: Because of her decision. Sarah now has to study and prepare for the tests.
  7. Pressure: The Hero begins to feel the pressure of the task before them and is stressed. Example: Sarah is taking the test and doing the interview, a high pressure, stressful situation.
  8. Pinch: Things get a little more complicated and the Hero wonders if the right decision was made. (see Action) A plot twist happens. Example: Turns out the test isn’t just a written test. There’s a hands-on portion that Sarah didn’t account for. Jane the ghost sister helps out at the last minute.
  9. Push: The Hero is pushed in a new direction. Example: Sarah gets a tour of the lab. Meets new people that work there. She’s pushed into a new world.

ACT II

  1. New World: The Hero experiences a new world or situation. Example: Sarah’s first day or a few days in the lab. Learning things, spending time with new people, etc.
  2. Fun & Games: The Hero explores and interacts in the new world. This is a good place to build relationships, romantic or otherwise, and develop your character more. Example: Sarah starts off a possible romance with someone in the lab who Jane, the ghost sister, hates.
  3. Old Contrast: The Hero compares the new world to the old, and is reminded of how much has changed. Example: Sarah and Jane are fighting. Jane wants Sarah to focus on the work and not the guy she’s just met.
  4. Build Up: This is where you prepare for the major turning point in your story. There is some form of struggle, internal or external, that will motivate your Hero to take matters into their own hands. Example: Sarah and Jane’s fighting gets to a boiling point and Jane decides to leave and not talk to her.
  5. Midpoint: The Hero encounters something that complicates their plans and motivates them to change the course of events. Example: Sarah starts trying to figure out things on her own and then stumbles upon the fact that Jane might have been murdered.
  6. Reversal: Everything changes. Example: The sisters make amends and discuss the possibility of murder.
  7. Consequence: The Hero reflects upon what has happened. Example: Sarah decides to go to the police and try to report the murder. They don’t buy it, they need proof and evidence.
  8. Trials: The Hero takes matters into their own hands and solves or works around the roadblocks that occurred. (See Reversal) Example: Sarah is now wary of everyone in the lab. She starts to investigate everyone in the lab. She might be nervous that she’s the next target.
  9. Dedication: The Hero is now determined to overcome the overall issue. Example: Sarah finds no hard evidence but she’s dedicated to figuring it out.

ACT III

  1. Calm Before The Storm: The Hero finds a solution, but now must overcome doubt, or some other complication. Example: Sarah builds on her romance with the love interest.
  2. Pinch: Plot Twist! Everything is worse than it was. Example: Sarah finds out that the love interest is the murderer.
  3. Darkest Point: Everything seems lost. Example: Sarah is betrayed.
  4. Power Within: The Hero finds the courage and the strength to carry on. Example: Sarah musters up the courage to go on.
  5. Action: The Hero takes action, and overcomes the plot twist, before taking on the overall issue again. Example: Sarah rallies the troops. Talks to the cops and any allies
  6. Converge: Everything comes together: the main plot, the subplot(s), the conflict, etc. The big event is imminent. Example: The sisters have fully fixed their relationship and are working together flawlessly.
  7. Battle: The Hero fights the villain and/or tackles the overall issue, full force. Example: Sarah and Jane fight the nemesis with all they’ve got.
  8. Climax: The Hero either triumphs or succumbs to a fatal flaw. Example: Sarah gets the proof she’s needed and the love interest is arrested.
  9. Resolution: Tie up all loose ends. Make sure the Hero has changed in some way.

Reading this is sure to get your creative juices flowing! If you’d like more on other plotting methods check out Outlining Your Book With Story Circle, and Dan Well’s Seven Point Story Structure.

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