Tuesday, August 12, 2014

August Tips Week: Structuring A Story

All stories must have structure. At least that's what all the craft books say. ;-)

And this is a time when what everyone says is true. Think about trying to figure out a "story" that just meanders from one event to another without any purpose in the telling. It's annoying. So, in the interest of story structure, I thought I'd share three new sources of info I've found in the last few weeks.

Story Spine

Check out the full post HERE. This one excited me so much that I turned right around and did a spine for FRIENDLY FIRE. And it worked!!!! ;-)

Five Key Turning Points

This article shows the way story is structured around doors of no return in 6 stages. Check out Michael Hauge's post HERE. He shows how turning points work in Erin Brokovich and Gladiator. This is very detailed, useful information.

Dan Harmon's Story Structure

Charlotte Rains Dixon has a great post on Story Structure, too. In it she introduces Dan Harmon's structure that I think is a great way to explain many Women's Fiction stories.

Picture this as a circle with point #1 at the top and then each point follows clockwise.

1. A character is in a zone of comfort
2. But they want something.
3. So they enter into an unfamiliar situation
4. And adapt to it.
5. They get what they wanted!
6. But pay a heavy price.
7. They return to their familiar situation
8. Changed forever.


I can foresee a lot of my time working on finishing the draft of FRIENDLY FIRE involving these ideas. I hope it's helpful for your writing, too.

Next week: Mini Book Reviews!


  1. I sort of have trouble with these things... Either I'm putting in too many turning points - or I'm not building up, and probably especially not following The Rule of Three..

    1. Well, three is arbitrary, don't you think? The link stresses using as many "And then..." as you need. Good luck! ;-)


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