Structure is a key element to story telling. Without structure, we just have a lot of words on a page or a jumble of scenes thrown together. Sure it may look nice, but where is the substance. Story structure provides that substance and takes a collection of words and sharps them into an engaging tell. For me, there have been two major methods of plotting structure that I’ve used and find to work really well for me. I encourage you to check into these, if you haven’t already, and adapt them to your writing style. These are not the only methods out there. Definitely take a look around and try multiple methods until you find one that fits.
Seven Point Plot Method
This is the first plot method I ever used. The Seven Point Plot method basically helps you create a basic outline of the key moments in your story. Essentially you will need: an ending, a midpoint, an inciting incident,two points of major struggle, and two points in which the plot shifts. I heard about this method from the writer podcast Writing Excuses which I recommend to anyone interested in writing. It’s great for those of us who are just venturing into writing and hitting our creative stride. I’ve heard that many long-term writers and novelists also tune into the podcast.
Below is a clip that further explains this method far better than I ever could. The speaker is Dan Wells, a co-host of the Writing Excuses Podcast. If you’re pressed for time, you can skip ahead to about the 2:45 minute mark and dive right into the explanation.
The Snowflake Method
The second method I’ve used is the snowflake Method. This is a method that was brought to my attention very recently. I have to say, so far I love this method. The principle behind the Snowflake Method is the idea of a snowball rolling down hill. As it tumbles, it enlarges. Basically with this method, you create an idea or hook. Then you enlarge the story into a paragraph by adding three disasters. Then you take that paragraph and create a paragraph for each idea within that original paragraph. You get the idea. I’ve found this method to be great for outlining. This is the method I used to create the scene outline I mentioned in my last update. With this method, you could easily take an idea from concept to nearly full synopsis in a matter of days if you press yourself. It still took me several weeks but whose counting. Below is a link from the writer credited with creating this method. It explains the Snowflake method in more detail than I ever could here.
If the two above methods aren’t your cup of java. There are several other methods available. Below is a clip on just some of the more popular methods you could use. Try multiple methods. I’ll probably try one or two of the methods mentioned in this video for some of my other projects.
I’m embarking on this challenge for NaNoWriMo 2016 this November. I hope you tag along with me for the ride as I provide updates on my writing process and the challenges I encounter. You can subscribe via email to receive updates or you can simply continue to return to this site. Feel free to comment below. I’d love to hear from you! You can read previous updates at the links below.