Structure Therapy

Now that we understand Plot, let’s finish up the month understanding Structure so that we can apply to those Works In Progress you’ve been plugging away on.

Structure is the Beginning, Middle, and End we talked about earlier. It’s also the little plot twists or turning points that push your story toward the Beginning Middle, and End.

Structure is that map your story follows. I love making lists, so I always list the structure elements to be sure my story is following them.

Beginning (Act I): This falls in the same line of Introduction for the Plot. You establish the main character and their goals. You show the story world.

Inciting Incident: This happens in the beginning. Something happens to the main character, and a decision must be made whether to go through the door of adventure, or stay in their normal world. For instance, a mother getting sued for custody of her daughter. This throws the character into the story. Her objective is to keep her child.

Plot Point 1: This is something that happens in the story to turn it around in a new direction that pushes your plot into The Middle (Act II). Maybe the mother asked for help from her parents only to find out that they are behind the custody suit.

Middle (Act II): This falls in line with the rising action of Plot. You throw obstacles in the character’s way to keep them from achieving their goal. There is often a high point toward the middle of Act II. The point where the main character may have lost all hope. The mother of our story has social services called on her. Now the rest of Act II shows the character coming to terms with her fate.

Plot Point 2: This throws Act II into Act III. It turns the story around yet again to a new perspective. The mother decides to kidnap her daughter and make a run for it.  

End (Act III): This is where we have the climax, which can be emotional or physical. Our mother finds out the people suing for custody have dropped the suit because of newfound evidence. We have the falling action. The mother makes amends and tells her love interest how she feels. We also have the resolution: The mother makes a new life for her and her child.

I know my examples may not be the best in the world, but you get the idea of how structure and plot work together to make a story complete. Next week we’re going to look into writing prompts and how they help us write!