Structure (Story Engineering and Physics #4 of 12)

Part of a series of posts on story engineering based on the book of that title and its companion volume Story Physics.

Story Engineering & Story PhysicsStories follow a pattern. In its simplest form, you might put it this way:

  1. Girl finds pony.
  2. Girl loses pony.
  3. Girl finds pony again and learns to keep the barn door shut.

A slightly more complex version has been studied, culled, and formulated by Joseph Campbell.

Campbell and others who study story structure are not creating a template for us, they are discovering an existing pattern — the pattern most stories take, have always taken.

Today, the most successful novels follow a version of this pattern. As always, there are exceptions, and as always, beginners had best learn the rules before breaking them.

I’ve already written an extensive series of articles about the 12 structure points of a novel. The original series refers to 9 points, but includes 3 more as subpoints along the way. I’ve decided a point is a point, and now there are 12:

  1. Hook
  2. Setup
  3. First Plot Point
  4. Response
  5. First Pinch Point
  6. Midpoint
  7. Attack
  8. Second Pinch Point
  9. Second Plot Point
  10. All is Lost Moment
  11. Climax
  12. Resolution

The series of posts can act as a worksheet for your next novel if you’d like to use it that way (and, if you like, one service I provide is an assisted walk-through to either create or review your 12 sentences. More on that in Friday’s newsletter.)

If you enjoy the posts in this series, please do me a favor and buy Larry’s books. This blog is free, of course, but I couldn’t be teaching you these things without Larry’s writing and blog. The $25 it will cost you to buy the books will be more than repaid by the information you get from them.

3 thoughts on “Structure (Story Engineering and Physics #4 of 12)

  1. Hi Joel,
    Thank you so much for posting such great areas of expertise. You always tend to amaze me. I’m getting back to writing, as I am done with the previously mentioned scripts. What a job that was. I’ll let you know when I’m ready to publish. Hope to see you next year, if you decide to take another trip. Blessings.

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