Monday, May 1, 2023

2023 - May - Blueprint to Story


New writers are seldom aware that a developed short story and a novel, no matter the genre, have a basic structure. That basic story blueprint is "The Hero's Journey" which is also considered "The Character's Journey" and "The Writer's Journey."

This basic pattern is what readers enjoy the most. And, yes, this pattern deals with the power of myth in storytelling. Another way of looking at this blueprint is the 3-Act-Play structure. After all, plays came before novels.

The basic story structure, be it called myth-based or 3-Acts has a sequence. The first sequence is the beginning, which is about an interesting character (the protagonist) in an interesting setting (their ordinary world as they know it) and a problem that is either the story's main issue or a scene where a problem is made known and which will lead to the main issue. Keep in mind that a story is about one person's journey, one person facing danger, and only that one person solving the problem at the end of the story.

The second sequence is the "Inciting Incident." This is the point where the protagonist's life will forevermore change because they have come face-to-face with the story problem and must act or there will be consequences. The Inciting Incident is also where the protagonist enters the very scary, unknown new world of dangers and uncertainties.

Next is the middle of the story where, by trial and error, the protagonist tries to solve the problem and fails until they finally understand what it will take to ultimately solve the problem.

Then comes the confrontation, the climax, the do-or-die finale. The protagonist wins, loses, or it's a draw and the problem is solved or resolved.

Some writers ignore story structure thinking that their subconscious, their muse, will create a block-buster novel. In reality, it's important to keep in mind the technical side—the blueprint that underlies a marketable story, a story readers will remember and tell others about.

Here's the thing, a reader doesn't realize there is a structure, but the writer knows it and employs it for the reader's benefit.

If you'd like a recommendation of a book or books on the subject of story structure, let me know in an email to

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