Short Story Structure & Planning

Short story structure - post feature

Once upon a time there was a …. a … yeah! So you have to write a short story but you don’t know what to do, where do you start. Well, the simplest place to start for a short story would be understanding its structure. Think of it as something a little bit like this. From start to end, you’re always rising until you come to your conclusion. The way your short story should start is with your exposition. This is when you’re introducing your story. Then your rising action. As the tension rises, so does your action, until you reach your climax, which is when all your action comes to a head. Then your action starts to fall and this is called falling action, which culminates in your resolution. Now this is a very simple way of thinking of how your story should be structured but what exactly do these entail? Do you know let’s start with the exposition. This is basically your: who what when where why So who is your character? What is happening? When is this happening? Where is it happening, and why is this happening? Now why should the reader want to start reading about this character’s life story. Then we come to the conflict. Now this is a problem, more than likely a problem that your character has to somehow solve, but how does he solve it. This is your rising action as play. As your story rises in tension, so does your character start to solve his conflict, and then the tension comes to a head in your climax. Your climax is the highest point of your piece, as well as the turning point for your character. This is when your character action starts to fall. For your character, everything starts to wrap up and we start to understand what has been happening this whole time. How to Structure a Short Story can’t be loaded: How to Structure a Short Story ( Video Transcript: (cont’d) As the action starts to fall this, does not mean the tension drops. It just means the action is wrapping up. So as the action starts to fall we reach the resolution, and the resolution is the conclusion to the whole story. It’s not necessarily happily-ever-after but it comes pretty close, like in a fairy tale where the princess gets the prince or Prince gets the princess. […]

The 8 Point Story Arc Template

The 8 Point Story Arc Definition Post

The Eight point Story Arc Template For Planning Your Novel From a reader’s point of view, a good story grips and doesn’t let go. We follow the hero or heroine doggedly, if we can relate to them and like them. We care about what happens to them and how the story ends. that’s why we keep turning the pages. However, this doesn’t happen by chance. The best stories follow a plan called the 8 point story arc. Everything in the Universe has a balanced structure, whether it’s man-made or naturally occurring. Why should a fiction novel or short story be any different? In fact the 8 point story arc template is exactly what hundreds of writers use to craft their novels. So what is the story arc? The Story Arc Definition The video below gives a really interesting explanation on the eight point set up, with some story arc examples. It’s comforting to know that, basically, all stories are the same and that all readers want the same thing. However, mind-blowing or off-worldy our idea for a novel or story is, we can use the 8 point story arc as a firm foundation for plot, subplot and character building – whatever the setting or theme. Go underdog! Will Schoder 8 Point Story Arc PDF Video Transcript: Human society runs on stories they create. Our reality, the way we as individuals, see the world. They make us sad, they make us happy, they inspire us. It’s no surprise that Hollywood, TV, and books bring in hundreds of billions of dollars each year, and it’s no surprise that the entire nation except for Ohio was rooting for the Cubs. The eternal underdogs finally had their shot. It’s why day in and day out most people want to live the best story they can. We love good stories. At this point in human history it feels like there are infinite stories, and we’re told they’re all different, but what if I told you the basic structure of all of those stories is the same? I’m not talking about the stuff that ends up making them different, like style, just a basic structure for every story that’s ever been recognizable as a story. Well, many people have tried different formulas but perhaps no one has done it better than the widely respected philosopher and theologian Joseph Campbell. He developed the mono-myth, also known as […]

How To Write Conflict – Creative Writing Basics

Conflict Definition In Novels

Writing a novel or story that works means including some essential ingredients. From a reader’s point of view (which is the only POV that should interest us!) conflicts between characters , and how they are resolved, is the energy that keeps them turning the pages. Is that a good thing? You bet – it’s why we write! An author must take the characters he’s painstakingly created with loving care, and introduce turmoil of varying severity into their fictitious lives. How to write conflict, that is, creating, sustaining and resolving the events causing it, is a vital skill to develop when telling a story. I’m not just referring to the main obstacles in the hero’s quest, but normal everyday stuff, like jealousy between friends, being irritated by someone’s arrogant attitude and any number of similar attacks on a normal person’s sanity. Writing Conflict Can Sometimes Be Helped By The Novel Genre The genre of your story can direct you towards the kind of conflict that needs creating. The conflictual events are the catapults that shoot the novel forwards and they are ever-present. The genre will loosely dictate the kind of situations that can unfold, giving rise to a particular kind of conflict. In a fantasy world, a dragon might breathe fire all over us, or simply be very annoying, continually telling us where we are going wrong. A sci-fi novel presents a whole gamut of possibilities, from evil scientists to slimy aliens bent on entering our bodies by any means possible! (Made myself shudder a little there!) The kind of conflict, the severity and the nature of the event causing it will surely be affected by the genre. In a historical novel, a character stepping out of the scope of accepted normal social behavior could be a source of conflict, while in an adventure novel, a hero dragging his legs through a jungle swamp while covered in leeches might deliver the goods. Conflict Often Surprises The Characters In A Novel – Sometimes the Author Too! For all levels of conflict, the astute writer looks for new and interesting ways to deliver conflictual situations, perhaps introducing something entirely new into the genre – readers love this! Many stories within a genre follow the same old formula and it can get boring, frankly. There’s an old adage from movie making that comes to my mind, when the producer says ‘Give me the same old […]

Story Arc Definition – The Beginning, Middle & End

In the beginning of story there was normal life. Before we get to the meat and potatoes of outlining our novel structure, you need to be sure of the purpose of each part of the story line. Successful storytelling should have a beginning, middle and end, where the author presents the natural flow of the plot. In the broadest terms, story arc definition can be represented as 3 acts, an idea first postulated by Aristotle and the same principles apply to plays, novels or movies. Beginning The Story This is where the scene is set and the foundation laid for the novel. The main characters are introduced in enough detail so the reader understands something about their life-styles, social standing, relationships and what their normal day-to-day life is like. The setting and time period are stated and described. If these are well-known to the average reader, then this could be minimal – most American city suburbs in the present day are very similar, so a novel set in a modern day commercial center wouldn’t need a lot of description. However, if the setting is on another planet, far back in the past or in a fantasy world, a considerable amount of time needs to spent of making sure your words paint an accurate picture of the main characters lives if the story is going to engage their interest and emotions. The main character’s faults are outlined, together with any deep desires or needs that are not being satisfied. This is important, because he will succeed by following these desires while facing events that will address and change his personality faults. This process of change is known as The Character Arc. The Middle Just after the scene setting and character introductions, the middle section begins to introduce conflict and tension. It starts with a catalytic event that happens to or around the protagonist and prompts them to embark on some kind of quest. This event could be a letter received, an inheritance, a death of someone close, a war or any number of things that changes the status quo. The protagonist has to go on a mission, preferably physically, in order to solve a problem, rescue someone or correct a situation. The stakes, which is the result of not succeeding on the mission, must be very high – really bad things happen if they fail. Conflict and tension becomes more intense […]