The Secrets of Story Structure, Pt. 12: Your Questions Answered

The Secrets of Story Structure, Pt. 12: Your Questions Answered Because of its fixed nature, story structure, once learned, is easy to grasp. However, it’s also a subject that inspires endless questions. A few weeks ago, while I was finishing up the last of the posts in this series, I asked those of you who follow me on … More The Secrets of Story Structure, Pt. 12: Your Questions Answered

The Secrets of Story Structure, Pt. 10: The Climax

The Secrets of Story Structure, Pt. 10: The Climax   And, now, the moment we’ve all been waiting for! The climax is the pièce de résistance of our gourmet meal of a novel. When we wheel out the climax and lift the serving dish’s gleaming silver lid, this is the bit that gets all the “oohs” and “aahs.” … More The Secrets of Story Structure, Pt. 10: The Climax

The Secrets of Story Structure, Pt. 8: The Second Half of the Second Act

The Secrets of Story Structure, Pt. 8: The Second Half of the Second Act   Now that we’ve passed the midpoint, things are starting to heat up in our story. The second half of the second act is where your plot really starts popping. Your main character caps the dramatic event at the midpoint with his decision … More The Secrets of Story Structure, Pt. 8: The Second Half of the Second Act

The Secrets of Story Structure, Pt. 7: The Midpoint

The Secrets of Story Structure, Pt. 7: The Midpoint   Halfway through our stories, something marvelous happens. There we are, minding our own business, toiling along in the seemingly endless desert of the second act, when—whap! bang! shazam!—everything changes all over again. Legendary director Sam Peckinpah talked about how he always looked for a “centerpiece” on which to “hang” … More The Secrets of Story Structure, Pt. 7: The Midpoint

The Secrets of Story Structure, Pt. 6: The First Half of the Second Act

The Secrets of Story Structure, Pt. 6: The First Half of the Second Act   Every segment of a story offers its own challenges, but perhaps none leaves writers more bewildered than the second act. Beginnings and endings are tough to get right, but at least we have a checklist of things to accomplish. The middle of the … More The Secrets of Story Structure, Pt. 6: The First Half of the Second Act

The Secrets of Story Structure, Pt. 5: Inciting Event and Key Event

The Secrets of Story Structure, Pt. 5: Inciting Event and Key Event   The first quarter of your story hinges upon two important and irreversible moments: the inciting event and the key event. I’ve saved our discussion of inciting and key events until this late into the series because these events can take place at any number … More The Secrets of Story Structure, Pt. 5: Inciting Event and Key Event

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?