Dec 5, 2017

The Write-A-Story Calendar Day 5: Structural Integrity

Want to learn story structure? The place to go is K. M. Weiland's blog Helping Writers Become Authors. I'm not going to repeat all that here, because I couldn't explain it half as well as she does, but I do recommend you check out the site if you're not familiar with it.

A short story has more room for playing around with experimental structures than a novel, so the traditional structure might not fit, but if you're doing an adventure/action story, you might benefit from hammering together a crude structure before beginning. Once you know the key scenes of the story, it's much easier to write it without running into a narrative brick wall at some point. And how to do it? Don't worry, it's easy:

  • inciting event
  • 1st plot point (25 % of story)
  • 1st pinch point 
  • midpoint spectacle (50 %)
  • 2nd pinch point 
  • 3rd plot point (75 %)
  • climax (90 %)
  • denouement
Basically, that's all you need. The inciting event draws the character into the story, the first plot point is the disaster that locks her in. The pinch points have the antagonist show her power and illustrate what's at stake. The midpoint is where the character goes from reacting to acting because of a revelation about the nature of the conflict, and as this bit can feel a bit slow, that's usually a good place for a few explosions and other exciting stuff. The third plot point is the moment of despair before the final showdown which forces the protagonist to make some hard choices. Climax is the final showdown, and denouement is a humorous, warm and fuzzy, or contemplative moment that allows the reader to say goodbye to the characters.

I'm not saying you need to use this structure for your story, but if you do, you can be pretty sure the story will work on a structural level.

Previous posts:

Day 1: The Big Idea
Day 2: Cool Characters

No comments:

Post a Comment

Hello, stranger. What's on your mind?