Thor's Thoughts: Story Structure
Greetings, young writers of Earth.
Today, I am rather pressed for time. As you may know, a movie has released only three days ago chronicling one of my many adventures. I would encourage all of you to view it soon, and please forgive my brother his shortcomings. He has learned a great deal since these events took place.
At least, that is what we hope.
Today, I would like to point you to a few resources that will help you structure your stories. I have found each of these useful at various times and with various projects. I hope you will experiment with them and find what is right for you.
The Seven Point System
I recently put this to use for a short story, to great effect. A brief explanation is given by Lisa Buchard, but the best/most exhaustive explanations I've found are a series of YouTube videos by Dan Wells. Both are linked below.
Lisa Buchard's Explanation
Dan Wells Video 1
Dan Wells Video 2
Dan Wells Video 3
Dan Wells Video 4
Dan Wells Video 5
The Three Act Format
This is a standard in Hollywood screenwriting, but can also work well for novels. The very basic explanation of this is as follows (and please forgive me, I can't remember who originally explained it this way):
Act One: Chase your characters up a tree.
Act Two: Throw rocks at them.
Act Three: Get them down.
In essence, this is a basic story arc that every story should follow. Insert a few failures and road blocks to make things more interesting and increase the tension, and you have a well-rounded story.
I first learned about this from a friend (well, my alter-ego did) and it has come in handy for pacing purposes. You can use it as a strict outline/road map, or as a guideline. Even the simple act of studying the beat sheet and knowing which emotional beats to place at certain points throughout the story can help.
Save The Cat BeatSheet
These are tools I have used in my own writing. I'v also heard of some who start with a beginning and work backward, or who write an outline and fill in the story around it, literally in the same document. then there are Discovery Writers, for whom these tools will be put to use after the first draft is written and you want to revise for stronger structure.
What are some tools you use when structuring your story? Whether you do it before drafting or after, I'm interested to know what other tools are available to us as writers.