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Mar
4
2017

Revisiting the 7-Point Story Structure -- by John Berkowitz

87506207

I've been writing my blog for a bit over two years, now, and I've seen the steady trickle of viewers and followers.  Some weeks the trickle grows to as much as a minor stream for a day.  Over the years I've studied the analytics, and one thing has stood out.  Almost every single day a good portion of visitors to this site visit one particular post.  Here it is for my Critique Circle friends.  Enjoy!


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When my daughter and I were writing our first novel, THE LAST PRINCESS, I had already written a novel on my own.  I started it in High school and didn’t type “The End” until over 20 years later.  182,000 words later.  I learned a great deal about writing in those 20 years – how to write natural dialogue, how to build tension, how to show instead of tell, how to vary sentence structure, how to foreshadow and deliver on a promise, and hundreds of other little things that eventually become second nature to a writer who writes.  But one thing, possibly the key thing, I neglected to learn was how to plot a novel.

I realized this long after I had put my first book in the drawer.  I knew it was un-marketable, but not precisely why.  Other than the length, of course.  So when I started on my second novel with my daughter I knew I needed to learn how to structure a plot.  I bought several books, but none of them really helped.  There was all of this talk about the difference between a plot and a story, and lists of the classic plots, and so forth.  None of it stuck.

Then I started listening to Writing Excuses, a weekly podcast hosted by authors Brandon Sanderson, Dan Wells, Mary Robinette Kowal and Howard Tayler.  The podcast referenced Dan Wells’ 7-Point Story Structure on YouTube.  Five short ten-minute clips of a single lecture, and I beheld the elusive mystery of Plot!

We were already three or four chapters into THE LAST PRINCESS at this point, having written by the seat of our pants (aka “pantsing”) until we figured out where the characters wanted to go.  But we had reached the point where we couldn’t go any further until we had the rest of the book plotted.  So overnight I went from a pantser to a plotter and created a chapter-by-chapter outline for the rest of our book.

Now we are querying THE LAST PRINCESS and we’ve started working on the sequel, THE LAST FAERIE GODMOTHER.  This time we started with an outline. So we revisited Dan Wells and his Magic Story Structure, and I thought I would share it with you.  Because I’m nice like that.

Here are the seven plot points, defined.  I also include where these points fall in Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone as a common example most of you will be able to see (because most of you have read it):

(1) HOOK – “Establish characters and starting state.”

This fairly self-explanatory; this is the point when your main character or characters and their situation are described.  This may or may not be the first chapter.  Usually is.  [In Harry Potter, this is where we meet Harry and see him living under the stairs.]

(2) PLOT TURN 1 – “Call to action.”

Also known as the “inciting incident.”  This is when the primary conflict is revealed: what the hero must do and what is at stake if he/she fails.  [In Harry Potter, this is when Harry learns he’s a wizard and goes to Hogwarts.]

(3) PINCH 1 – “Put pressure on characters; force action.”

Sometimes your hero needs a nudge.  Characters are often reluctant to undertake what they must do, or are somehow prevented from starting.  This is the point when you build the pressure and make it clear the problem isn’t going to go away on its own.  This is often a good place to double down on what is at stake if the hero fails, or just demonstrate that the problem is real.  [In Harry Potter, this is when the troll attacks and Harry and his companions realize only they can stop it.]

(4) MIDPOINT – “Move from reaction to action.”

This is a key moment in the story – and despite the name, it does not necessarily need to occur in the exact middle of your book.  This is the point when your hero stops stalling or overcomes what’s blocking them from acting, and gets busy.  [In Harry Potter, this is when Harry learns the Sorcerer’s Stone is at Hogwarts and Volermort is after it.  Harry and his companions decide to find the stone themselves to protect it.]

(5) PINCH 2 – “Really lay on the pressure; hero on his/her own.”

Applies pressure to the story and the hero, usually through a great loss.  Also known as the Dark Night of the Soul or the Jaws of Defeat.  This is often represented by the loss of a mentor.  [In Harry Potter, this is when Harry loses his companions on the way to finding the Sorcerer"s Stone and is on his own with the scary bad guy.]

(6) PLOT TURN 2 – “Get the last piece of puzzle.”

This is where the hero finally learns they have the power to solve the problem at hand.  [In Harry Potter, this is when the mirror reveals Harry’s motives are pure and gives him the Sorcerer’s Stone.]

(7) RESOLUTION – “Winning!”

Obviously, the resolution of your story.  This does not mean your hero succeeds.  Many books are about heroes that fail and then exploring the consequences of failure.  [In Harry Potter, this is when Harry defeats Voldermort.]

Points 1, 4 & 7 are meant to work together – Hook, Midpoint and Resolution.  This is the heart of your story.  Knowing your Resolution in advance, you work backwards to your where your story begins (Hook) and the determine the journey (Midpoint).  The two Plot Turns (2 & 6) are where your characters are spurred into motion; they carry you from Hook to Midpoint, and Midpoint to Resolution.  And the two Pinches (3 & 5) are where you apply pressure to your hero.

This structure will work with virtually any genre or style of book – romance, sci-fi, fantasy, horror, mystery, and so on, and any age group, too (excluding very short children’s books and picture books).  An excellent exercise is to take a favorite or popular book and find where these plot points occur in them.  Dan Wells does this in his lecture, breaking down Pride and Prejudice, Othello, The Tell-Tale Heart, and others.  If you’re especially brave, you can put your own finished books to the test.

With this niftry crib sheet in-hand I was able to plot out THE LAST PRINCESS fairly easily.  I defined the action that would represent each of these events in the story, and then filled in the action between, roughly breaking the whole up into chapters.  By the time we were finished very little had changed from our initial outline.  We did decide to move the death of her mentor after her triumph, because we wanted her motivation to be her own breakthrough of character, rather than a knee-jerk reaction to the death of a loved-one.  So we replaced Pinch 2 with a different motivation and scene.

Now, we hope we've pulled that same rabbit out the hat again when we plotted THE LAST FAERIE GODMOTHER.  Because, unlike with our first book, I am not comfortable diving in blind this time.  We know the characters, now.  We know the world and our characters’ relation to it, and we have very specific ideas about what needs to happen in this book.  And we're in good company; many writers I have talked to started as Pantsers and turned into Plotters.

I hope you find this information useful.

 

John R Berkowitz

Am I Doing This Right?
Writing the middle grade novel and living to tell about it.

Posted by John Berkowitz 4 Mar at 01:56
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Responses to this blog

Rellrod 4 Mar at 13:16  
John — very, very helpful — most of all because you provide a familiar example. A lot of story analyses I've seen seem to float in the air uselessly because I can't readily tie them to an actual story with which I'm acquainted.

Rick
Blandcorp 4 Mar at 14:21  
A similar exercise in explaining structure is the book "Save the Cat". It's about film scripts, and even includes some thought about the timing of the various moments; but the structure it shows is the same. If you can get Save the Cat, do so, it's a nice book.

As a counterpoint, Neil Gaiman once said he doesn't want to read Hero with a Thousand Faces (yet another analysis of myth and story structure) because

Quote by: Neil Gaiman
I think I got about half way through The Hero with a Thousand Faces and found myself thinking if this is true I dont want to know. I really would rather not know this stuff. Id rather do it because its true and because I accidentally wind up creating something that falls into this pattern than be told what the pattern is.


I don't share his perspective (I'd rather observe patterns in a conscious manner), but I'll quote it for variety.

Cheers!

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Rellrod 4 Mar at 20:35  
Actually, I rather like Gaiman's reaction. Read enough stories, and you ought to have a feel for story structure. But if I spend a lot of time studying theories of story structure, I feel as if I might fall into arbitrarily checking off plot points in an artificial way.

But I wouldn't go quite so far as Gaiman. (I always want to have my cake and also eat it. ) I don't mind soaking up whatever theories of story come my way — but I don't tend to seek them out; I'd rather spend my limited time primarily in practicing the art.

Rick
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Blandcorp 5 Mar at 03:17  
Quote by: Rellrod
if I spend a lot of time studying theories of story structure, I feel as if I might fall into arbitrarily checking off plot points in an artificial way.


This is my concern with formulas as well.

At some level, all stories are the same (<- hyperbole, but you get the point). Much like all human bodies are, more or less, the same structurally. And yet like all humans are different, so are stories. There is a way to organically grow from the same structure in such a way that variety is nonetheless achieved.

Formula, taken to its logical conclusion, promises industrial reliability. And the flip-side is sameness.

So here's something I'd say (though don't quite practice): forget the formula for the draft or at least planning phase. Remember the formula for the second draft. Obviously things (like memory ) don't quite work that way, but I suggest that one lets a story simmer naturally on its own, and later put it side by side with a theory of structure, and see what is missing.

Cheers.

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Paulpowell 5 Mar at 09:09  
I won't write anything that falls so neatly into a diagram of this sort. If that doesn't satisfy some folks, oh well. How tewwibly unfortunate.


By the way, the blog page is nicely laid-out, clear, and lucidly presented. I appreciated that. The only hindrance for me were all the Potter references which made it hard for me to grok the illustrations she offered for each of her points.
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Paul Powell, Pool Player

Onalimb 5 Mar at 12:54  
IMO, this isn't a formula; it's a framework. It illustrates some high-level principles that can guide the development of a story. Why build on a wobbly foundation. when a strong one is handy? I use a variant on this, and sometimes I build on it, if for example, I'm running multiple sub-plots in parallel, but I don't violate the principles.

A good story resonates with its readers. Good structure allows the writer to do the right things at the right time, to enable the story to resonate.




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Blandcorp 5 Mar at 13:05  
Quote by: Onalimb
IMO, this isn't a formula; it's a framework. It illustrates some high-level principles that can guide the development of a story. Why build on a wobbly foundation. when a strong one is handy?


I agree with this.

The difference between framework and formula tends to be blurry though— or the boundary between them tends to be easily overstepped. This is another reason why Save the Cat is pretty much a must-buy if you're interested in story structure, in particular film story structure. It's not that the author of Save the Cat thinks he's showing you a framework. He's telling you, this is THE way to make a script. If you plan a 120 film, and the rule of thumb is each script page is about a minute, then your intro should be done by page 10 (or whatever it is, I don't have my copy available right now). If I remember correctly, the book even discussed flawed scripts, flawed because of timing the beats or ordering them differently. And of course there are analyses of how famous films fit the structure given in StC.

If you wondered why all film stories feel the same, this is why. I'm not recommending Save the Cat because I purely endorse its teachings. It makes good points (such as the story structure it presents being a good framework), but it's also a case study of what happens in an industry that manipulates large amounts of resources and must minimize risk.

Framework becomes formula.

Cheers.


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Jberkowitz 6 Mar at 13:14  
Quote by: Paulpowell
By the way, the blog page is nicely laid-out, clear, and lucidly presented. I appreciated that. The only hindrance for me were all the Potter references which made it hard for me to grok the illustrations she offered for each of her points.
Well, thanks! The picture at the top isn't me, though. John is a boy's name.
Paulpowell 6 Mar at 18:36  
Oh, I see. Playin' it "cagey", eh?


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Paul Powell, Pool Player

Paulpowell 6 Mar at 19:33  
Bland Man, we find ourselves once again on opposite sides of a rhetorical fence

Quote by: Blandcorp
It's not that the author of Save the Cat thinks he's showing you a framework. He's telling you, this is THE way to make a script.


And my question was always: "who the heck is this guy and why is he considered any kind of authority or guru?"

After all, promoting a methodology to 'factory-produce' screenplays (for an industry which is already factory-oriented in its production) is hardly likely to get my esteem. He's killing creativity at the root of every project.

Quote by: Blandcorp
If I remember correctly, the book even discussed flawed scripts, flawed because of timing the beats or ordering them differently. And of course there are analyses of how famous films fit the structure given in StC.


But the lengthy and diverse history of movies blows his theory outta da' water. His recommendations only suit the execrable, rigid, codified manner in which Hollywood insists on making schlock "right now". It's just about the most pathetic and miserable repast the West Coast has ever sunk to.

Quote by: Blandcorp
If you wondered why all film stories feel the same, this is why.


It's why all contemporary movies feel the same, that's for sure.

Quote by: Blandcorp
but it's also a case study of what happens in an industry that manipulates large amounts of resources and must minimize risk.


You're spot-on with this remark. Yep. It's exactly why they love formula out there—cowardice and avarice.

I am just glad I don't look to LA for my paycheck. What a nightmare.



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Paul Powell, Pool Player

Blandcorp 6 Mar at 23:13  
Quote by: Paulpowell
Bland Man, we find ourselves once again on opposite sides of a rhetorical fence


Reading through your post, I think this fence is illusory. It seems we survey the same facts, and we judge them the same, mostly. The only substantive difference I can see is whether we can call StC "great" or not. As I said above, it's great not because it's a fail-proof container of story structure teachings (though it has some good points), but it's great as an articulation of the way the film industry works, for better or worse. You see it as, lets say, the expression of a corporate culture that industrializes creativity and therefore as at least questionable if not even monstrous. It's not a difference of opinion to get too worked up about. The problem is not the book, it's the overall system of which the book is a symptom.

Cheers.


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Onalimb 7 Mar at 04:57  
I have very little patience for the idea that someone is, somehow, constraining the activity of those who, if they were only unleashed, would spread their creative wonders across the world.

The world has never been more open, in terms of creativity. For better or worse, the gatekeepers have lost control of the gates. Technology had made it cheap and easy for anyone to get their music video, film, or story out into the marketplace. The problem isn't over-restriction; it's over-supply. Big budgets and pervasive marketing can make it easier to get a product out there, but also mean that attracting a bigger audience is required, to recoup the investment. If their target deems the result to be crap, it becomes a big loser instead of a little one.

The creative arts are tools of expression, but they're also tools of communication. In books, the words are everything. Authors who think it's all about them, that their readers should be willing to do whatever it takes to understand and appreciate their brilliance, will be overtaken by those who understand how to connect with their audience.

I see story structure as a tool that helps writers enable that connection. (And I haven't read "Save the Cat," but now I likely will, for the discussion of the flaws alone.)
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Paulpowell 7 Mar at 10:38  
Quote by: Onalimb
I have very little patience for the idea that someone is, somehow, constraining the activity of those who, if they were only unleashed, would spread their creative wonders across the world.


The trend of western history shows this clearly to be the case, though. If you cast your eyes back along the course of generations, you can see dozens of artistic outpourings and peaks of talent, which put ours to shame.

I mean, surely you don't see this paltry digital era as a 'golden age' of anything? Right? How can you?

Look around, what exactly do you see being "built"? I mean, tangibly. Pyramids? Temples? Cathedrals? Frescoes? Operas? Plays? Epics? Nope. Our forefathers created our world. All our culture comes from the past.

And not just the arts, but even things like skyscrapers, bridges, harbors, airports. Knowledge and know-how. We're simply letting it crumble and erode.

Today's workers? Illiterate, drug-dazed, twentysomethings working as coffeeshop baristas; spending their hours inertly leaning against formica counters playing baby games on cellphones, gossiping their lives away. Dronez. Politically dead. Listless; feeble; without ideas, without unity; without audacity of any kind. Stagnant, stymied, and totally cowed by authority.

Quote by: Onalimb
The world has never been more open, in terms of creativity.

Frankly, I almost chuckled aloud when I read this. No offence, (you make your case very ably, you're articulate) but I have to privately nominate it as the oddest statement to greet my eyes this week. Talk about idealism!

Anyone who works in screenwriting right now, knows that the industry has never been more closed to newcomers. It's been causing an uproar for the last five yrs at least.

Not just in screenwriting, but in general: the arts and academia are dying in America. Regional craftsmanship? Practically gone. A free press, daily newspapers, how long is that going to last?

From where I stand: no one is painting, drawing, sculpting, playwriting, performing, or creating. Broadway is dominated by Disney; orchestras are struggling for survival.

No one 'has a career in the arts' anymore. Web-programming is not an 'art'. All my buddies I attended design school with? They work in advertising firms to survive. Their 'creativity' consists of javascript, and for fun they "forward" sophomoric jpgs and smiley-faces around to all each other's email accounts.

And heck, didn't even Ringling Bros Circus just this week, close up for good? We have a country today where a kid can't even see a circus? The world is drowning in commercialism and globalism and conformity, but to you this is a Renaissance? I can only salute your optimism!

Quote by: Onalimb
For better or worse, the gatekeepers have lost control of the gates.

Comforting hyperbole for some, I'm sure..not to me, unfortunately...

Quote by: Onalimb
Technology had made it cheap and easy for anyone to get their music videos, film, or story out into the marketplace.


Well, 'art' is not supposed to be 'oh so easy' in that sense. What 'easy' tech/media does is simply flood the market with cheap, lookalike, copycat products (which, by the way, are only deliverable via flatscreen monitors and touchscreens built in SE Asia).

I ask you, where is texture? Where is concreteness? Where are objects you can actually touch and experience? All replaced by the soulless, insipid www.

Hordes of clumsy amateurs and embarrassing dilettantes uploading ghastly home-made vids to Youtube... and delusionally preening themselves that they are 'movie directors'. And all the while, LA producers insist on high-concept, simplistic, hero's journey movies because they're the safest bet for their ROI. Jesus.

Quote by: Onalimb
The problem isn't over-restriction; it's over-supply.

Aka, 'dross'. Which in itself is simply a form of restriction or obstacle. A dearth of quality and a surplus of tripe; makes it super-difficult for genuine talents to emerge. We're in a new Beidermeier Age: our movies, our music, our books, our cars, every single item we purchase, stamped off impersonal assembly lines ...embossed in every detail, by corporate mantra.

Great cinema (which started this thread) was once this nations' greatest contribution to world culture. Now it is our greatest embarrassment. The last thing we need are more formulas like Blake Snyder's. What we really need is an audience who gets up out of their chairs—revolts and boycotts—in order to regain the respect we deserve. We deserve intelligent movie-making, movies which respect (rather than insult) our intellects.


The rest of your comments I happily accede to. Fine. Yeah. Good job on the second-half of your sentiments; the first half was what killed me.

Hope its okay to provide my counterpoint in as forceful terms as I did. Since all these topics are related to my career, I naturally have some earnest opinions on these matters...



__________________
Paul Powell, Pool Player

Onalimb 7 Mar at 11:16  
@PaulPowell,

It's a free forum and your comments are welcome. I don't require your approval and you don't need mine. However, between the Hollywood set and the do-it-yourselfer on Youtube, there is a whole range of indie and independent films. They're seen most often in film festivals and on small independent screens, but they're out there, and they have an audience. They are most definitely not the product of corporate America. Many of them aren't American at all.

Producing a movie, even a small run release, used to be a very expensive endeavor. (I used to work in the film industry, so I have some idea what was involved.) Now, the cost is manageable enough that small players have more access to the market.

Hollywood has indeed produced some great movies. It's also produced a boatload of crap, in every decade. Spaghetti westerns, anyone? Or how about all those war movies? There have always been cookie-cutter productions, blatant copies, and formula productions.

Is it easy for someone without the right contacts to become a Hollywood insider? No. Has it ever been? Probably not.

The point is, Hollywood might be your goal, but it's far from the only measure of creativity out there.


__________________


Blandcorp 7 Mar at 11:52  
In times like this, it's nice to remember Sturgeon law: 90% of anything is crap. And it's also nice to remember that time tends to obscure the dross, at least the cultural one. But if you dig for it, it's there.

And hey, maybe we don't build cathedrals anymore (well actually ...), but Dubai making a closed-up artificial snow slope for skiing in the middle of the desert seems right up the alley of ancient pharaohs building pyramids to house their corpses.

So chill. The world's been dying since it was born. Today is no different.

Cheers.


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Comeaux 7 Mar at 12:06  
John, this is awesome. Thanks for sharing this. I'll get a lot of mileage out of this.

Donna

Jberkowitz 7 Mar at 12:11  
Quote by: Onalimb
... between the Hollywood set and the do-it-yourselfer on Youtube, there is a whole range of indie and independent films. They're seen most often in film festivals and on small independent screens, but they're out there, and they have an audience. They are most definitely not the product of corporate America. Many of them aren't American at all.
Indeed. And the proof is in that lawsuit CBS filed over the Star Trek fan-film, Prelude to Axanar. Prompted, in part I believe, because there are no fewer than four very successful not-for-profit fan production companies out there making full episodes of Star Trek that rival and in many cases surpass the original show to which they pay homage. Then there are TV successes like Drunk History, which started as a small project by Funny or Die, and got picked up for five seasons (and counting) on Comedy Central, even spawning a British version.
__________________
John Berkowitz
Am I Doing This Right? Writing the middle grade novel and living to tell about it.
Follow me on Twitter.

Kayle 7 Mar at 12:45  
As a millennial, I have to strongly disagree with any claim that today's era lacks creativity, or that technology is not art. If anything, today's technology is allowing people to be far more creative than ever before. (Here is a good article: www.smithsonianmag.com/arts-culture/7-ways-technology-is-changing-how-art-is-made-180952472/ )
I have to agree with Onalimb here: The world has never been more open to creativity.
Onalimb 7 Mar at 12:48  
Quote by: Jberkowitz
Quote by: Onalimb
... between the Hollywood set and the do-it-yourselfer on Youtube, there is a whole range of indie and independent films. They're seen most often in film festivals and on small independent screens, but they're out there, and they have an audience. They are most definitely not the product of corporate America. Many of them aren't American at all.
Indeed. And the proof is in that lawsuit CBS filed over the Star Trek fan-film, Prelude to Axanar. Prompted, in part I believe, because there are no fewer than four very successful not-for-profit fan production companies out there making full episodes of Star Trek that rival and in many cases surpass the original show to which they pay homage. Then there are TV successes like Drunk History, which started as a small project by Funny or Die, and got picked up for five seasons (and counting) on Comedy Central, even spawning a British version.<br>



It's an interesting business, in many ways. I've heard (not sure how true it is) that a current TV show, "Timeless," is being sued by a Brazilian company for copying their show without buying the appropriate rights. And of course, a big reason for the existence of the film festivals is for the small independents to get that lucrative distribution deal. Last year, if I have my numbers right, TIFF screened close to 400 films—I can't imagine how many entries were viewed, to pick out that many.
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Luvrofinfo 8 Mar at 08:23  
This is indeed helpful.

I do have a pet peeve with so many instructional materials using fantasy/science fiction examples. I love reading such works, but don't write them and would like to see comparable examples from other genres.
Vkkerji 12 Mar at 06:14  
Hello, John,

Thanks for sharing this knowledge, and you organized the contents very well.
I have been using Dramatica story structure and it has four acts Setup, Complication, Crisis and Resolution. I mention this because it enables the reader to come out with enough events.

I have a book 'Story Engineering' by Larry Brooks which is quite useful.

More information can be sought at www.how-to-write-a-book-now.com/
They have a novel panning book which is worth buying.

Regards,

Vijay


Mhtritter 12 Mar at 15:56  
Some successful books to consider:
1Q84
Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell
Behind Her Eyes

These books are amazing. They are successful. And they do not follow what was laid out above, call it a framework or what you will. Certainly a great number of books do follow that pattern, and I think it can be laid atop many books whose author's never consciously considered such a framework while writing. I, honestly, get the same sense from this that I get from, say, horoscopes (astrological, Chinese, doesn't matter) ... "You are hard-working but can be lazy at times, loving, observant, but may get distracted by material desires which don't always serve you well, etc., etc." - Gee, that could be me, it could be you, it could be just about every person on the planet to some degree or another because we all of us have all traits to some degree or another on an infinitely nuanced continuum. Same as the journey in a book, there are challenges and victories, set-backs and moments of respite, otherwise the book doesn't work. Once it has those elements, it magically fits the paradigm of "Intro, Urge, Set-back, Victory, Set-back, Conclusion". That is what it seems to me anyhow. I'm no expert, I haven't researched it exhaustively. I don't know, that is just what my gut tells me.
Dougp 1 Apr at 10:08  
Lots of comments about Save the Cat, which looks like it's best for screenwriters. For novelists, try this one:
5 Secrets of Story Structure: How to Write a Novel That Stands Out
KM Weiland
It's critical to have a structure for your story. There are many novels I've read that didn't capture my attention or that were disappointing in the end. I never quite understood why until I read Weiland's book and internalized what a story structure is and why it's important. You don't have to follow every detail exactly - that would be formula - but if you don't understand the structural elements you'll run the risk of spending months writing a draft that never flies.

Blandcorp 1 Apr at 10:24  
I'll second the rec. for K.M. Weiland, and she also has a youtube channel with several very nicely informative and concise videos.



Some successful books to consider:
1Q84



Sigh. This is an almost textbook case of what you can get away with when you are known as a good writer. Or, ok, when you are known as a good writer and actually wrote two thirds in a book that are actually really good. For the sake of your insomnias and/or respect for Murakami's self discipline, pretend the last third of 1Q84 does not exist.

Cheers.

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Stebmaya 12 Jul at 07:29  
Thank you so much, John as a new writer who has just finished her first draft and starting revisions your blog has literary given my MS hope.

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