in a lot of contemporary media, there’s a three act structure. the first act is called the setup.
the setup is where we learn about the characters, their motivations and their backgrounds. there’s usually an awful lot of exposition and scene-setting, and it often includes some groundwork for act two.
the second act is called confrontation or the conflict. it’s where something goes wrong, and we learn about the consequences of that thing going wrong. we learn about how it affects the characters and how their lives will change. we watch them struggle with their lives changing and trying to reconcile their new state of being, now that that thing has changed.
the third act is called the resolution. it’s where the protagonist works out their problems and either overcomes the issue or finds a way to work around it and go about their lives.
of course, it’s a bit more detailed than that, but that’s the summary. and here’s what i’ve learned about the three act structure since i first learned about it in drama in high school.
i don’t get a third act.
i don’t get a deus ex machina coming down from the rafters to hand me the macguffin key that i need.
i don’t get a heroic awakening of my latent superpowers.
i don’t get to win the lottery and sort out all of my debts in one shot and live happily ever after.
there is no resolution for me. there’s just struggle and temporary victory followed by more struggle.
and i don’t know how much longer i can do it.