Category: story structures

The 7-Point Story Structure

The 7-Point Story Structure

To create a narrative, it is necessary to think of a well-defined structure so that nothing is left to chance.
There are particular narrative techniques that we have discussed extensively in the Narrative Technique Series, as well as Story Structure that come to the aid of the writer. Between them, there is the 7-Point Story Structure.

The main goal of the Story Structure is to create a story that is as compelling as possible, that meets all the requirements of a narrative that captures the reader’s attention from the very first lines.

What is the 7-Point Story Structure?

The 7-Point Structure is rather complex, consisting of dividing the narrative structure into seven different parts. It is a complex structure, but it also allows you to work backward, starting from the ending to the story’s beginning. This structure’s secret is to add an event at each step so that there is a crescendo of action during the story.

Below is the structure of the 7-Points:

  1. The Hook
  2. The Plot Turn 1
  3. The Pinch Point 1
  4. The Midpoint
  5. The Pinch Point 2
  6. The Plot Turn 2
  7. The Resolution

The Hook

This is the hook of the story, the point that must grab the reader’s attention from the first sentences. In this part, the writer introduces the story, the context, and the narrative’s protagonist.

The Plot Turn 1

Here a particular event marks the beginning of the narrative. The protagonist gets involved, and this is where the action of the story begins.

The Pinch Point 1

After getting to know the protagonist, this is the moment to introduce the antagonist. This character is meant to hinder the protagonist’s exploits, adding more action to the story.

The Midpoint

Up to this point, the main character has ‘only’ reacted to the sequence of events. From the beginning, they have adapted to the change, to the event from which the whole story began. At this point, however, the main character take the situation into their hands and react.

The Pinch Point 2

Like Pinch Point 1, the protagonist is put under pressure, but even more so than the first time.
What characterizes the added pressure of this phase is the loss of something essential or someone dear. The protagonist feels abandoned and lost but must continue to act to achieve a happy ending.

The Plot Turn 2

When all seems to be lost, the protagonist realizes a way out and how to defeat the antagonist. We move towards the conclusion of the story and the final confrontation.

The Resolution

This is the final act, or climax, the point of the greatest tension in the whole narrative. The protagonist faces the last step of this journey. They may not win at all costs, but they will certainly fight and try to get to the end with all their might.

The 7-Point Story Structure: example in narrative

Let’s take “Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone” as an example. There is also a beautiful film based on a book of the same name.

As a first point, the Hook, we get to know Harry Potter and the story’s context. He lives with his aunt and uncle in a basement. He later discovers that he is a wizard and that his destiny is to go to Hogwarts, the school of magic. This phase is Plot Turn 1, i.e., the first turning point in the plot.

The antagonist begins to be recognized. A troll attacks the school, and Harry Potter confronts it. This corresponds to Pinch Point 1. When they arrive at the Midpoint, Harry Potter and his companions discover more about Voldemort and the Philosopher’s Stone. They realize they must have it before Voldemort gets it.

In Pinch Point 2, Harry finds himself alone to face his enemy. His companions have been stopped in the previous action and cannot help him. When everything seems to have no happy ending for Harry, the mirror shows him where to find the Philosopher’s Stone now that Harry has revealed how pure his soul and intentions are. This concludes Plot Turn 2.

In the story’s conclusion, the Resolution, Harry succeeds in his task, and Voldemort is defeated. This time.

There is no good and evil, there is only power and those too weak to seek it.

Voldemort- Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone

bibisco and the novel planning software

Which narrative structure should you choose for your story? Are there any suitable narrative structures, depending on the type of narrative? bibisco, with its innovative novel planning software, is a great tool that can give you the answers to these questions.
It also allows you to organize the content, characters, and context of the narrative.

Story Structure Series- The 7-Point Story Structure- bibisco's architecture of the novel section - bibisco blog | useful resources by your novel writing software
bibisco’s architecture of the novel section

Conclusions

The 7-Point Structure is a structure that divides the narrative into 7 points.

Each point, each new phase, brings something new to the story until you get to the final point, the climax, which is the highest point in the story with more action and tension.

James Scott Bell’s a Disturbance and Two Doorways

James Scott Bell’s a Disturbance and Two Doorways

As we saw in our Narrative Technique Series, there are several methodologies for creating a story and making it compelling.

For instance, often, a story begins with the protagonist facing a particular situation. Sometimes, he has to face two choices. This Story Structure is the James Scott Bell’s Disturbance and Two Doorways.

What is James Scott Bell’s a Disturbance and Two Doorways?

A Disturbance and Two Doorways is a concept introduced by James Scott Bell.

According to James Scott Bell, everything has to start with conflict. But the conflict is not only between one person and another but can develop between the protagonist and his antagonist, or between the antagonist and a group, and so on.
In short, Disturbance is not only typical of mystery, thriller, or action novels.

It is the trigger for any narrative and moves the action around the characters in the story.

Without conflict, without Disturbance, a novel runs the risk of being boring. Therefore, the writer must study his characters well, investigating their conflicts, both external and internal.

How to apply James Scott Bell’s a Disturbance and Two Doorways? Disturbance and Two Doorways in your novel?

In his famous book “Plot and Structure”, Bell introduces this concept composed of three main elements: the Disturbance, the first Doorway, and the second.

  • The Disturbance: is the disturbing element at the beginning of the story. It is something that threatens the protagonist’s ordinary life.
  • the first Doorway: is the first way out that pushes your character into the center of the story. However, Once you walk through this door, there is no turning back.
  • the second Doorway: this is the seconda way out which leads to the final battle. This is the door of no return, but it usually leads to disaster.

Some practical example of this structure

We can find this type of structure in Gerard Way’s comic book “The Umbrella Academy” from which a successful television series was also based.

After hearing that their adoptive father has died, the six siblings return to their childhood home. This corresponds to the Disturbance. The action that moves the narration and from which everything starts.

Therefore, the brothers discover that soon the world will end due to a global apocalypse. At this point, they faced with two choices:

  1. come together as a group and as a family to fight
  2. wait inexorably for the end of the world.

Here we find Doorway 1.

Consequently, by choosing to cross this threshold, there is no return. Throughout the story, the brothers head for Doorway 2, the doorway to the final battle.

“A great novel is the record of how a character fights with death.”

James Scott Bell

Choose the best novel writing software for your narration

bibisco is a novel planning software focused on character development precisely because it is designed starting from this principle: there is no novel without the characters’ conflict.

For this reason, with bibisco you can get to know everything about your characters with an innovative and fun method: an interview! Knowing the characters in depth, it is possible to better identify the conflict, the engine of every story.

James Scott Bell’s a Disturbance and Two Doorways - bibisco's main character section
bibisco’s main character section

Conclusions

A story without action is not likely to hold the reader’s attention.

There are many different ways to introduce action into a story. One of these is the technique devised by James Scott Bell’s a Disturbance and the Two Doorways.

In conclusion, it all starts with an action, a disturbing element, and then continues with the main characters facing two Doorways. These will lead to the end of the story leaving the reader with bated breath in a narrative full of suspense and action.

Three-Act Story Structure

Three-Act Story Structure

Throughout this Story Structures Series, we have learned several methods and techniques for structuring a narrative: from Randy Ingermanson’s method to the more classic Dean Koontz method.

In this article, we explain how to structure a story with the Three-Act Story Structure.

What is The Three-Act Story Structure?

It is a classic and basic method already used in Ancient Greece. The Three-Act Story Structure divides the narrative into three precise moments, with an alternation of cause-and-effect moments.

For this technique, it is essential to identify three moments: a beginning, a middle, and, obviously, an end.

1st moment of the Three-Act Story Structure

The 1st moment is the Setup. Here the writer introduces the characters, the setting of the story, and the background. It is the moment when the protagonist of the story experiences a particular situation. This issue takes him away from his comfort zone, even the home, to push him towards adventure.

2nd moment of the Three-ActStory Structure

The middle moment corresponds to the Confrontation.

A whole series of events and actions are inserted at this point. They lead up to the climax, where the action gets into the thick of the story. However, there are no easy issues to address. The harder the protagonist works to get out of situations, the more he struggles. So much that to the reader, it seems that a happy ending is impossible to achieve.

3rd moment of the Three-ActStory Structure

The Resolution.

The narrative protagonist still experiences one last struggle but finally manages to achieve a happy ending and overcome the difficulties. All’s well that ends well, in short.

The moment of Resolution, however, has its substructure that serves to highlight the happy ending:

  • High stakes: the reader must have a sense that the challenges are becoming more and more complex and that one mistake could lead the protagonist to disaster.
  • Challenges and growth: the conclusion of the challenges not only leads to the long-awaited happy ending, but also to the personal growth of the protagonist, who has learned a lot from the difficulties encountered.
  • Solution: somehow, all the difficulties that the character has managed to overcome have also led him to find the best solution to end his journey peacefully.

Example of the Three-ActStory Structure in books

You can find one first example of this methodology applied to a novel in “Hunger Games” by Suzanne Collins.

In the first part, Katniss Everdeen experiences a triggering event that leads to the story’s beginning and action. In detail, it all starts when she applies to volunteer at the Hunger Games in place of her sister.

After starting the game, Katniss teams up with a younger girl named Rue. A male companion, Peeta, is also chosen with her. The two try to survive the game together. This is the half of the narrative in which more or less intense moments of action occur.

The final part of the narrative brings Katniss and Peeta to the Hunger Games’ end after passing one more final test.

Why is the Three-Act Structure mentioned in books? Because as far as movies are concerned, the structure is similar though different in length and complexity. Sequences replace the classic structure used in storytelling.

“I like theater, but theater is theater and movies are movies. They should be separate. We should talk about sequences – and there are usually at least five or six sequences rather than three acts – which are broken up into sections and scenes”

Martin Scorsese

Create your narration structure with bibisco’s novel planning software

To create the perfect structure for your story, you can use bibisco’s innovative novel planning software. These tools will allow you to rearrange your ideas and figure out based on the characters, the background of the narrative, and the ending you want to give the story, which is the most suitable structure.

Story Structure Series: The Three-Act Structure - bibisco's chapter section
bibisco’s chapter section

Conclusions

The Three-Act Story Structure is reminiscent, though more simply, of the Hero’s Journey that we have already covered extensively in this Series.

It always starts with an incipit and a root cause, to get to the middle of the story where the protagonist’s fate does not seem so obvious. The end marks the conclusion of all the difficulties with a moral lesson: the protagonist, facing the challenges, grew and learned a lot about himself.

Dean Koontz’s Classic Story Structure

Dean Koontz’s Classic Story Structure

Let’s move in our journey of Story Structure Series writing about Dean Koontz’s Classic Story Structure.

In the previous article, we learn about Randy Ingermanson’s Snowflake Method whereas the Dean Koontz’s method is simpler.

It equally takes its cue from the base of the story, elaborated however differently, through three main steps.

What is the Dean Koontz’s Classic Story Structure?

Dean Koontz is an American writer, known for novels that can be roughly described as suspense thrillers. Frequently in the story, he incorporates elements of horror, science fiction, mystery and satire.

The three steps of Dean Koontz’s Classic Story Structure

This method is composed of three different parts. It is simple and can be applied to every kind of narration.

  1. Write about your characters, their attitude and get the reader to get attached to this character. After that, make the characters encounter some difficulties as soon as possible. Only in this way will the reader begin to take an interest in the events of the characters and to fear for their lives.
  2. Don’t make life easy for your character but, on the contrary, try to complicate it with other difficulties and plot twists. In some cases, you may feel that your characters’ actions make the situation and events worse. The situation seems almost hopeless to the reader.
  3. It is important to show how much your character has learned during the narration. In the end, it’s nice to show that he can pull himself out of any difficulty precisely because of the lessons he’s learned.

Goals of Dean Koontz method

In addition to these steps, Dean Koontz identified the goals to keep in mind for every novel.

Firstly, you have to think that the aim of your story is to immediately grip the reader. Secondly, you have to introduce the main character that you will put in trouble in the next step.

It is important to let the reader know right away that the narrative will be full of twists and turns, suspense, timed by events at a very high pace.

Finally, create a strong sense of reality. Do not fantasize too much, otherwise, the reader may risk losing interest because the events are too absurd and distant from reality.

“Some people think only intellect counts: knowing how to solve problems, knowing how to get by, knowing how to identify an advantage and seize it. But the functions of intellect are insufficient without courage, love, friendship, compassion, and empathy.”

Dean Koontz

An innovative novel planning software to create your story

As just seen, you have to be very careful about what elements to consider when writing the story. It is good to properly dose the narrative techniques, elements and also to know how to give the right prominence to the characters in the novel.

For this, bibisco can be of help to you. Thanks to its innovative novel planning software, you can balance all the right elements and create characters that will be loved by your readers.

Dean Koontz’s Classic Story Structure - bibisco's characters' section - bibisco blog | useful resources by your novel writing software
bibisco’s characters’ section

Conclusions

The second method we wrote inthis Story Structure Series is Dean Koontz’s Classic Story Structure, a simpler technique to learn how to structure a novel.

This is composed of three easy steps which you can apply to every kind of narration. Don’t lose other articles of this Story Structure Series!

Randy Ingermanson’s Snowflake Method

Randy Ingermanson’s Snowflake Method

To structure a novel is not a simple thing. Besides the narration, you have to choose different elements. For instance, which narrative techniques to use, how to create dialogues and others.

In this first part of our Story Structure Series, you can learn how to structure a novel with Randy Ingermanson’s Snowflake Method.

Everything starts with a basic story structure in which you defined a beginning, a middle and an end. But there are also different story structures you can consider structuring your novel which we will see in next articles of this Story Structure Series.

Let’s start with Randy Ingermanson’s Snowflake Method.

What is the Randy Ingermanson’s Snowflake Method?

Are you curious about how to structure a novel with Randy Ingermanson’s Snowflake Method?

Randy Ingermanson is a theoretical physicist, and he is also an award-winning author of six novels. He invented “The Randy Ingermanson’s Snowflake Method” composed of 10 steps.

The aim of his method is to start from a central idea. Then, develop your narration around this starting point, by adding different concepts, techniques and details.

The 10 steps of the Randy Ingermanson’s Snowflake Method

In other words, imagine that these 10 different steps are like little snowflakes. Through them, you can create your very final result as a big ball of snow, your narration. Every step has approximately a duration, that you can use just for reference like a guideline.

  1. Start by writing a single sentence in which you summarize your novel. (The duration of this step is about 1 hour)
  2. Furthermore, expand the sentence you create in the step above. Then, create a complete summary and giving more details about the most important events (this took 1 hour)
  3. Concentrate on each character. Write a page in which you resume the behaviour, characteristics, attitude and other details about your characters. (It took about 1 hour for each one)
  4. Each sentence you wrote has to be expanded into a paragraph summary, as you have done in point #2. (Several hours)
  5. After that, put yourself in the shoes of your character. Write about one page about the story, from the eyes of them (1-2 days)
  6. As you have done in point #4, detail each paragraph you create. After that, create a full-page synopsis (this is the longest part of the Method: it took about a week)
  7. This is the moment to create a character chart to give more details. Write a full description of your character (about 1 week)
  8. Take advantage of point #6 and make a list of every scene you need to complete your narration
  9. For each scene, write a whole paragraph with a complete description
  10. Now is the time to write your draft, which you can revise at the end

“You need three major resources to have a successful writing career: time, writing space, and money.”

Randy Ingermanson

The innovative novel planning software of bibisco to create a novel

To sum up, if you are searching for one method to create your novel and avoiding losing details, you can get inspiration from this Story Structure Series. Likewise, you can test the novel planning software of bibisco.

This is a very useful tool that you can use to list the main points and characters of your novel and to put your ideas into words.

Take a look at the example below where you can define Premise, Fabula, Setting and Narrative strands of your novel.

Randy Ingermanson’s Snowflake Method- bibisco's characters' section - bibisco blog | useful resources by your novel writing software
bibisco’s architecture of the novel section

Conclusions

Every writer has a method to write the novel. This is the Randy Ingermanson’s Snowflake Method.

In conclusion, in this Story Structure Series, we keep analyzing some of these methods from which you can start to create your narration, full of details, of interesting dialogues, which will take your reader’s breath away.