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The 4 Story Structures that Dominate Novels

The 4 Story Structures that Dominate Novels
All stories contain four elements that can determine structure: milieu, idea, character and event. While each is present in every story, there is generally one that dominates the others. Which one dominates? The one that the author cares about most. This is why the process of discovering the structure of a story is usually a process of self-discovery. Let’s take each element in turn and look at the structure that would be required if that were to be the dominant element in your story. STRUCTURE 1: THE MILIEU STORY The milieu is the world—the planet, the society, the weather, the family, all the elements that come up during your world-creation phase. Milieu stories always follow that structure. This structure is most common in science fiction and fantasy, but it also occurs in other types of novels. Likewise, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz doesn’t end when Dorothy kills the Wicked Witch of the West. Most mysteries follow this structure. Take, for example, the Indiana Jones movies. Related:  Plot and Structureashraqatmohamed

Novel Plotting Worksheet | The Organized Writer | Annie Neugebauer Want to help support the author? There are hundreds, possibly thousands of articles on novel plotting on the web. There are a few plotting worksheets, with spaces and questions for you to fill in your own work – some of them are good. But I couldn’t find what I wanted, so I decided to make it and share it with you all. The “Plotting Worksheet” is for writers who have scattered ideas (maybe a conflict + its resolution) that need to be worked into a basic plot structure. It is 1 page, bare bones, easy to view at a glance. The “Plotting Worksheet with Prompts” is the same thing with questions to prompt your answers, in case some of the steps confuse you or you are familiar with different terminology, etc. Note: if you are in the early stages, it might be easiest to fill in this worksheet out of order. I hope this helps. Happy plotting! View the full list of available organizational documents. All documents are © Annie Neugebauer. Share this:

Write Fiction that Grabs Readers from Page One In your novel, the inciting incident is the first sign of trouble for your protagonist: it’s the catalyst, the chemical reaction, that sets the plot into motion. But the inciting incident isn’t only important for your main character. Understanding how to harness it is also crucial to hooking your reader from the very first page and immediately investing them in the experiences, emotions, and personal struggles of the character. In this excerpt from Hooked: Write Fiction That Grabs Readers at Page One and Never Lets Them Go by Les Edgerton, you’ll discover that the inciting incident can be used as a trigger to focus the reader on the character’s journey and retain his or her interest throughout the rest of the novel. The Inciting Incident as a Trigger The inciting incident is the crucial event—the trouble—that sets the whole story in motion. Notice that this isn’t a point-by-point outline of a plot. The story begins with a bit of necessary setup, giving a scrap of family history.

Story Structure & Writing In today’s excerpt from Words Overflown By Stars, author David Jauss discusses and questions the traditional story structure. There’s nothing second-rate about a traditional story. Lots of people write great ones and millions of people love to read them. For some writers, though, the form itself may feel unnatural, not suited to portraying the complexities of a world marked by ambiguity and dislocation, chaos and incongruities, where answers are suspect and bizarre juxtapositions a part of daily life. Do you want to go beyond telling what happened and recreate the feeling? If you answered yes to many of these questions, you probably find traditional structure confining, an obstacle to expression instead of a helpful guide. The traditional story revolves around a conflict—a requirement Ursula K. The movement of the story progresses from rising action to climax to the falling off of the denouement. This doesn’t mean for a moment that only women will reject the standard progression.

Top 10 Sentence Slip-Ups Good writing comes down to two totally different factors: solid prose and “it.” The latter is that special something that brings stories to life, infuses vibrancy into characters and themes, and just basically makes stories work. But an author who has been blessed with all the “it” in the world still won’t make it if he isn’t also able to convey the essence of his genius in well-ordered, properly structured sentences and paragraphs. Creating correct sentences is a technical process that offers set guidelines for getting the structure right. 1. What is it? Example: Grabbing her pet flying monkey, Jana jumped onto its back. What’s wrong with it? How to fix it: Usually, all you have to do is rework the sentence with the events properly ordered: “Jana grabbed her pet flying monkey and jumped onto its back.” 2. What is it? Example: Jana grabbed her pet flying monkey, she jumped onto its back. What’s wrong with it? 3. What is it? Example: Jana grabbed her pet flying monkey. 4. What is it? 5. 6.

25 Ways To Plot, Plan and Prep Your Story I’m a panster at heart, plotter by necessity — and I always advocate learning how to plot and plan because inevitably someone on the business side of things is going to poke you with a pointy stick and say, “I want this.” Thus you will demonstrate your talent. Even so, in choosing to plot on your own, you aren’t limited to a single path. And so it is that we take a look at the myriad plotting techniques (“plotniques?”) you might use as Storyteller Extraordinaire to get the motherfucking job done. The Basic Vanilla Tried-And-True Outline The basic and essential outline. The Reverse Outline Start at the end, instead. Tentpole Moments A story in your head may require certain keystone events to be part of the plot. Beginning, Middle, End A Series Of Sequences Chapter-By-Chapter For novel writers, you can chart your story by its chapters. Beat Sheet Mind-Maps Happy blocks and bubbles connected to winding bendy spokes connected to a central topical hub. Zero Draft AKA, “The Vomit Draft.” Index Cards

How to Make Your Novel a Page Turner When my father was a little boy, one of the last of the touring vaudeville companies came through his podunk town, and he got to see the show. The centerpiece was a one-act drama featuring a pretty girl in peril. The climactic scene began quietly, with her sitting next to a lamp, sewing. As the mustachioed villain sneaked onstage, the audience began to murmur in alarm. When the lovely young thing gave no sign of sensing the danger, the audience’s murmuring gained urgency and volume. The innocent girl continued to sew her apron. Closer crept the villain, drawing a knife from his coat. In full voice now, the audience warned her: “Behind you. When, incredibly, she bowed her vulnerable neck more deeply over her work, they rose from their seats, cupped their hands around their mouths, and shouted with the utmost diction: “Beee! Unbearable suspense. Ah, to be a master of it. I used to beg my dad to tell that story, and I’d laugh maniacally every time. PLOT FROM THE GUT. Now what? WHAT IS AN HCM?

The Eight Sequences This Sequence Outline is NOT an absolute formula or perfect recipe to building a feature script, but it is something to work from. Because each script is a prototype: new, unique, custom-made just for its own story. {youtube}rwrS-_tzefo{/youtube} SEQUENCE ONE – Status Quo & Inciting Incident Establishes the central character, his/her life, and the status quo and the world of the story. SEQUENCE TWO – Predicament & Lock In Sets up the predicament that will be central to the story, with first intimations of possible obstacles. SEQUENCE THREE – First Obstacle & Raising the Stakes The first OBSTACLE to the central character is faced, and the beginning of the elimination of the alternatives begins, often a time where EXPOSITION left over from ACT I is brought out. SEQUENCE FOUR – First Culmination/Midpoint A higher OBSTACLE, the principle of RISING ACTION is brought in and builds to the FIRST CULMINATION, which usually parallels the RESOLUTION of the film. SEQUENCE FIVE – Subplot & Rising Action

Cracking the code of writing What’s the secret to good prose? What makes it work—not just on the aesthetic level of vivid and poetic word choices, but on the deeper and ultimately more important level of functionality? In short, is there a method authors can learn to create clear and powerful prose—or is it all luck and gut instinct? All prose—whether it’s the elaborate poetry of William Faulkner or the straightforward sentences of Cormac McCarthy—will always be instinctive on some level. Our word choices and sometimes the direction the sentences themselves end up taking can surprise even us sometimes. But if the structure that underlies our sentences and paragraphs is going to effectively convey our thoughts to our readers it will always adhere to the logical pattern of cause and effect. What’s a motivation-reaction unit? Dwight V. For all that it sounds like part of an airplane engine,motivation-reaction units are an insanely simple concept. What’s a motivation? 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. What’s a reaction? 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6.

4 Ways to Write a Killer Plot Twist When I started reading Gone Girl, I’ll admit I had high expectations. “It’s incredible,” one friend told me after recommending it and praising it profusely. “You just won’t even believe what happens …” She stopped short, looking guilty. “I can’t say any more,” she said, almost at a whisper. “I don’t want to give anything away.” If you haven’t read the novel, I don’t want to give anything away either. And here’s the thing: As implausible as some of the occurrences in Gone Girl are, they’re also set up in such a way that I embraced each of them, one right after the other. How do we do that when writing fiction? In this excerpt from Story Trumps Structure, Steven James presents four ways to craft plot twists that readers will never see coming. 1. When coming up with the climax to your story, discard every possible solution you can think of for your protagonist to succeed. Then think of some more. And discard those, too. 2. 3. Readers want their emotional investment to pay off. 4.

How to Stay Inspired (for Writers and Artists): 12 steps (with pictures) Edited by AJ Knight, Krystle, Amanda, Brendan and 11 others Creative inspiration is magical when you have it and frustrating when you don't. For anyone who has had writer's block, who struggles with agent rejections, or who has thrown in the paintbrush, here are some fresh perspectives on what creativity really means. Art is a passion that has many forms of expression. Invite the Muse to not only visit but to stay a while! Ad Steps 1Go to writing or art critique groups. 12And the most important words to inspire you are: Just do it. Tips Re-think your eating habits.

Plot driven characters Vs Character driven plot : Screenwriting 25 Virtues Writers Should Possess 1. A Wild And Unfettered Imagination This one goes up front: the bubbling turbid stew that comprises your brain-mind combo must possess an endless array of unexpected ideas. Your head should be an antenna receiving frequencies from the furthest-flung reaches of Known Creative Space. You want to survive, you’ve got to have an imagination that won’t lay down and die. That fucker’s like a North Korean 9-year-old: up all night, smoking cigarettes, working his fingers to the bone. 2. Given that we’re creative types prone to art-o-leptic fits of imagination, if we’re given no leash we’ll just wander off into the woods to create our masterpiece. 3. The only way you’re going to stay on target is if you believe this thing you want to do can actually happen. 4. By the same token, realistic expectations are the order of the day. 5. Here’s where you say, “Wait, wuzza? 6. 7. Writers are liars who use those lies to tell truths. 8. Put your work out there and find pride and power in what you do. 9.