How to Structure a Story

Story structure is the backbone of your entire book-making project. It is the order and manner in which the narrative is presented, establishing the setting and the plot. So, what are the elements of story structure?

The Opener

The opener is where you establish who your story is about and what this person or persons actually has to do. What challenges will they face? What is their specific situation and what will they need to overcome? Remember, the opener has to be intriguing enough to hook your reader.

The Incident

Stage two is the incident. The incident is the catalyst or instigating force that forces your main character to act. It works as a setup for stage three …

The Crisis

Remember, a crisis must be realistic and related to the plot. If your character experiences more than one crisis each should build on the last, heightening the tension or sense of danger.

The Climax

Stage four is the climax—the height of the crisis, or bottom depending on how you look at it. At this stage, the character is at his or her end. Hopeless, injured, seemingly out of options. The climax is not the end of the book, but it is the beginning of the end.

The Ending

The final stage of story structure is the ending. Success or failure are both valid, but the ending presents the conclusion of your story. The ending should close the loop on all plot twists and loose ends but could also leave the reader wanting more.

There you have it, three ways to get a story from ‘In the Beginning’ to ‘The End’ that will keep you focused and organized. The reader will know what you’re doing, following along through the peaks and valleys, the twists and turns, confident that your roadmap will lead somewhere promising. 

LoneThread Books – Stories never end.