Plots, part 2

Larry Brooks’ story structure has several interlocking parts, but more or less breaks stories into four parts. (You could still argue that this is a 3-part structure: 25% beginning, 50% middle, 25% end.)

Setup

This is the first 25% of the novel. It includes the opening scene, a “hooking” moment, then a “setup inciting incident.” Optional: has a major plot twist that doesn’t establish the hero’s need/quest.

  • Hook reader
  • Introduce hero
  • Establish stakes
  • Foreshadow

Response

Begins the middle section, and comprises another 25%. It contains the first plot point (must define need and quest, opposition defined, actions need to flow from this point) followed by the first pinch point (antagonistic force asserts itself).

  • Retreat, regroup
  • Doomed fight back
  • Opposition reasserted

Attack

The second half of the middle section, and another 25% of the novel. It opens with the midpoint. New knowledge creates new context (must be game-changer) and the hero is empowered. There’s a second pinch point, where the antagonistic force hits back hard. There’s a “all hope is lost” lull near the end of this section.

  • Hero proactive and shows initiative
  • Opposition pushes back

Resolution

The final 25% of the story. The second plot point comes into play: final injection of information (gamer changer once again) and last piece of the puzzle.

  • Beyond plot point: no new information or characters
  • Problems resolved, for better or worse

Final resolution sequence

  • The last scene(s) ending the story.

Here’s another way of looking at the story structure, which is more concise and character-centric.

Orphan (25%)

  • Establish demons

Wanderer (25%)

  • Reacts and runs
  • Unsuccessfully strikes back
  • Failures related to character flaws

Warrior (25%)

  • Attacks the problem
  • Overcomes flaws

Martyr (25%)

  • Risks all
  • Conquers inner demons
  • Must be catalyst
  • Never rescued or passive

And here’s a spreadsheet I found.

Story-Structure-spreadsheet-preview

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