Apr 21, 2012

A to Z - Story Structure

When it comes to story structure, lots of people remember what is fondly referred to as the witches hat.

However, when it comes time to really write the story, there can't just be a witches hat, because it is not reality.  You see, in our lives, there are good days and bad, times when we triumph and times when we fail.  And if we want our stories and characters to be believable, even if they are very make believe, they have to have alternating successes just like we do.  Which means, the story structure needs to look more like this.



If we let our character have success too soon, it will seem artificial, and if they don't have enough good happen to them, even just a little, there is a reader disconnect.  The balance is to have both good and bad - bittersweet is even better!

What stories have you read that made you love the structure?  Which characters do you find yourself cheering for because of the ups and downs of their lives?

9 comments :

Susan Gourley/Kelley said...

I like your picture of story structure. George RR Martin is one for beating his characters down, down and down. I wonder how many will survive until he finally finishes his tale.

Cassie Mae said...

Maybe it's cuz I just saw the movie, but I love the Hunger Games story structure.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Those little zig-zags are far more realistic!

Lynn Proctor said...

can't think right now of any examples and i have never really thought of it the way you put it--very cool

Lynda R Young said...

I love a really tight structure with plenty of conflict.

Sara Hill said...

One of my favorite children's books, Maniac Magee, zigzags like that. I think that's one reason I love this book.

Susanne Drazic said...

Your graph is definitely more realistic.

Susan Oloier said...

The graphic is great! But then I'm such a visual person.
Stories or characters, huh? Need to think on that one.

David P. King said...

I did a post exactly like this a few months back. My stories look like your second chart, too. Spot on! :)