- Girl finds pony.
- Girl loses pony.
- 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:
- First Plot Point
- First Pinch Point
- Second Pinch Point
- Second Plot Point
- All is Lost Moment
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.)