The Secrets of Story Structure, Pt. 4: The First Plot Point

The Secrets of Story Structure, Pt. 4: The First Plot Point   Stories are a series of scenes. Some of those scenes are expected, some of them are even purposefully repetitious for the sake of emphasis. But some scenes change everything. These game changers are the plot points. They introduce significant elements and events that … More The Secrets of Story Structure, Pt. 4: The First Plot Point

The Secrets of Story Structure, Pt. 3: The First Act

The Secrets of Story Structure, Pt. 3: The First Act   Once you’ve hooked the reader, your next task is to put your early chapters to work introducing your characters, settings, and stakes. The first 20-25% of the book comprises your setup. At first glance, this can seem like a tremendous chunk of story to devote to introductions, … More The Secrets of Story Structure, Pt. 3: The First Act

The Secrets of Story Structure, Pt. 2: The Hook

The Secrets of Story Structure, Pt. 2: The Hook Readers are like fish. Smart fish. Fish who know authors are out to get them, reel them in, and capture them for the rest of their seagoing lives. But, like any self-respecting fish, readers aren’t caught easily. They aren’t about to surrender themselves to the lure of your story unless … More The Secrets of Story Structure, Pt. 2: The Hook

The Secrets of Story Structure, Pt. 1: Why Should Authors Care?

  The Secrets of Story Structure   If there’s just one thing that matters to your success as a writer, it’s story structure. Story structure is what allows authors to create stories that work every single time. Story structure is what allows you to quickly diagnose and remedy plot problems. The fear that story structure … More The Secrets of Story Structure, Pt. 1: Why Should Authors Care?

4 Reasons You’re Confused About Scene Structure (With Examples)

4 Reasons You’re Confused About Scene Structure (With Examples)   Scene structure is the backbone of strong narrative storytelling. Built properly, scenes effortlessly link one to another to create a chain of give and take, cause and effect, action and reaction, question and answer. The whole point of scene structure is to create an ebb … More 4 Reasons You’re Confused About Scene Structure (With Examples)

Structuring Your Story’s Scenes, Pt. 12: Frequently Asked Questions

Structuring Your Story’s Scenes, Pt. 12: Frequently Asked Questions Once authors grasp Scene* structure, the whole approach to storytelling becomes clearer and more refined. At first blush, it can be a subject that takes a while to fully grasp and, as a result, can spawn all kinds of questions. But all you clever Wordplayers seem to have caught … More Structuring Your Story’s Scenes, Pt. 12: Frequently Asked Questions

Structuring Your Scenes, Pt. 11: Variations on the Sequel

Structuring Your Scenes, Pt. 11: Variations on the Sequel   Sequels*, even more than scenes, offer all kinds of flexibility. In large part, this flexibility is what can make sequelsdifficult to quantify in stories. Unlike the scene, sequels can be so subtle they blend right into the scenery. This can sometimes lead authors to believe sequels aren’t as important … More Structuring Your Scenes, Pt. 11: Variations on the Sequel

Structuring Your Story’s Scenes, Pt. 10: Options for Decisions in a Sequel

Structuring Your Story’s Scenes, Pt. 10: Options for Decisions in a Sequel   Perhaps the most instinctive of all the Scene’s* building blocks is the decision. This third and final piece of the sequel grows out of the character’s dilemma and leads right into the next scene’s goal. The decision is the little cattle prod on your story’s … More Structuring Your Story’s Scenes, Pt. 10: Options for Decisions in a Sequel

Structuring Your Story’s Scenes, Pt. 9: Options for Dilemmas in a Sequel

Structuring Your Story’s Scenes, Pt. 9: Options for Dilemmas in a Sequel   If the first part of your sequel*—the reaction—appeals to your readers’ emotions, the second part is all about the intellect. Once your character’s first-blush emotional response to the previous scene’s disaster has passed, he will have to get down to the all-important business of thinking about … More Structuring Your Story’s Scenes, Pt. 9: Options for Dilemmas in a Sequel

Structuring Your Story’s Scenes, Pt. 8: Options for Reactions in a Sequel

Structuring Your Story’s Scenes, Pt. 8: Options for Reactions in a Sequel   At the heart of every sequel* is the narrating character’s reaction to the preceding scene’s disaster. This is where the author gets the opportunity to dig around inside his character’s emotional and mental processes and find out what he’s really made of. The scene is about … More Structuring Your Story’s Scenes, Pt. 8: Options for Reactions in a Sequel