5 act structure online writing course

Why do some stories fail and others succeed?

How do you deeply develop a story without bogging down the narrative with info dumps?

How can you maximize the emotional impact of your ending?

We are super excited to announce our first featured expert in the Writers’ Mastermind online writing group!

Joseph Sale

As a writing coach, Joseph Sale knows that everyone has a story burning inside them. It’s his job to nurture that flame, and when the time is right, let it shine. He has coached numerous writers from nobody/nothing humble beginnings who have gone on to receive professional publication credits after working with him through one-to-one sessions. His story-writing technique derives from the classical 5 Act model, but adapted for the modern age with influences from Henry James and other American writers.

In this masterclass with Joseph Sale we will discuss:

  • How to formulate an opening that hooks
  • The correct place to add backstory and details
  • How to “turn the screw” to crank up the suspense and tension
  • The secrets to creating a satisfying, impactful ending your readers will never forget

Who this class is for

  • New writers who want to learn the framework powerful storytellers have used throughout the ages
  • Experienced writers who want to hit all the right narrative notes to take their storytelling to the next level

What’s included

  • A 6-Part Video Series
  • The 5 Act Structure Workbook – analyze your stories for optimum structure
  • Ongoing structure chats and challenges in the Facebook group
  • Live Q&A Zoom call with Joseph Sale (recorded for replay)


FREE. Included with your 30-day FREE trial at the Writers’ Mastermind. Register here.

Act 1: The Opening

Every story must have a beginning. The problem is, where and when to begin.

In this part, we discuss:

  • Creating the Inciting Incident
  • Who needs to be introduced
  • Nailing the opening line
  • Establishing Person, Place, and Action
  • Setting Up External Forces

Act 2: The Complication

How to develop the narrative, “turn the screw,” and complicate things for our protagonist.

In this part, we talk about:

  • How to make the reader care about our characters
  • Where to add flashbacks and backstory without bogging down the flow
  • Introducing villains in interesting ways
  • Establishing stakes and then raising them

Act 3 : The Crisis

Most people view stories as one continuous process of escalation. But actually, they are more dynamic than that.

In this part, we discuss:

  • The crisis that needs to happen in Act 3
  • How do get our readers invested in the outcome
  • Why we need to give our characters the upper hand, at least for a moment

Act 4 : The Revelation

The point in the narrative where a surprising truth comes to light.

In this part, we talk about:

  • The descent into hell, the lowest part of the story
  • How the revelation can be physical, emotional, spiritual, or a mixture of all three
  • Examples of Act 4 revelations

Act 5 : Catharsis

The story reaches its climax and denouement, the final part of the story in which everything converges and is resolved.

In this part, we talk about:

  • How to create a sense of catharsis for the reader
  • The dynamic of loss and gain
  • How to balance your ending for maximum impact

Bonus Lesson:

What happens when the story structure is out of sync?

What interesting things can be done with the 5 Act Structure?

Joseph Sale gives us examples of The 5 Act Structure using real movies and books from all time periods and genres.

How to register

Get FREE access to The 5 Act Structure Masterclass with Joseph Sale, plus all our other masterclasses, resources, and Zoom calls.