Posted by: nancycurteman | August 21, 2010

What is Story Structure?

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Killer Ideas

At its most basic level, story structure relates to the  beginning, middle, and end of your novel. These three elements are the base of the pyramid on which an engaging novel is built.

The next level of the story structure pyramid is plot points. There are two important plot points. The first plot point separates the beginning and middle of your novel and is where you toss your character into the thick of the story’s action. The second plot point is between the middle and end of your story and is the final rip-roaring climax that is concluded and followed by the denouement, the closing of the novel. Your choice of the best position for your plot points can make or break your novel.

When important events occur in your novel is another important element of structure. Events depend on character development. Your character’s growth and changes both precipitate and result from story events.

A fourth layer on the story structure pyramid is the rhythm of your writing. You should match your sentences and words to the feelings and actions in the story. For example fast-paced scenes should have strong verbs and short sentences. In suspense scenes you would use longer more descriptive sentences that emphasize interior feelings to prolong the suspense. It’s also a good idea to vary your sentence lengths using longer ones, shorter and medium-sized ones to avoid monotony.

Story structure is the skeleton of a novel. It’s important to ensure the bones are strong enough to support an interesting fleshy story.

For more writing tips:

9 Ways to Create Tension in a Mystery Novel
4 Do’s and Don’ts of  ”Show, Don’t Tell.”
How Do Conflict and Crisis Differ in a Mystery Novel?
How Important is Conflict in a Mystery Story?
How to Create Minor Characters in Your Mystery Novel
Pacing: A Critical Element in the Mystery Novel
What is Literary Style?
What is Theme in Literature?
7 Murder Weapons That Will Challenge The Cleverest Sleuth
7 Characteristics of Today’s Modern Mystery Novels
Developing Characters is No Mystery
Author’s Voice: How to find it?

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Responses

  1. You have said a lot in a short space. I will read through my MS with structure in mind. Thank you for sharing.

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  2. […] At its most basic level, story structure relates to the  beginning, middle, and end of your novel. These three elements are the base of the pyramid on which an engaging novel is built. The next level of the story structure pyramid is plot points. There are two important plot points. The first plot point separates the beginning and middle of your novel and is where you toss your character into the thick of the story’s action. The second plot point … Read More […]

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  3. Another winning post. Thanks, NC!

    Like

  4. […] What is Story Structure? […]

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  5. […] Modern Mystery Novels Developing Characters is No Mystery Author’s Voice: How to find it? What is Story Structure? 9 Ways to Create Tension in a Mystery Novel Global […]

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  6. […] How Important is Conflict in a Mystery Story? How to Create Minor Characters in Your Mystery Novel Pacing: A Critical Element in the Mystery Novel What is Literary Style? What is Theme in Literature? 7 Murder Weapons That Will Challenge The Cleverest Sleuth 7 Characteristics of Today’s Modern Mystery Novels Developing Characters is No Mystery Author’s Voice: How to find it? What is Story Structure? […]

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  7. […] 4 Do’s and Don’ts of  ”Show, Don’t Tell.” How Do Conflict and Crisis Differ in a Mystery Novel? How Important is Conflict in a Mystery Story? How to Create Minor Characters in Your Mystery Novel Pacing: A Critical Element in the Mystery Novel What is Literary Style? What is Theme in Literature? 7 Murder Weapons That Will Challenge The Cleverest Sleuth 7 Characteristics of Today’s Modern Mystery Novels Developing Characters is No Mystery Author’s Voice: How to find it? What is Story Structure? […]

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  8. […] 4 Do’s and Don’ts of  ”Show, Don’t Tell.” How Do Conflict and Crisis Differ in a Mystery Novel? How Important is Conflict in a Mystery Story? How to Create Minor Characters in Your Mystery Novel Pacing: A Critical Element in the Mystery Novel What is Literary Style? What is Theme in Literature? 7 Murder Weapons That Will Challenge The Cleverest Sleuth 7 Characteristics of Today’s Modern Mystery Novels Developing Characters is No Mystery Author’s Voice: How to find it? What is Story Structure? […]

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  9. […] 4 Do’s and Don’ts of  ”Show, Don’t Tell.” How Do Conflict and Crisis Differ in a Mystery Novel? How Important is Conflict in a Mystery Story? How to Create Minor Characters in Your Mystery Novel Pacing: A Critical Element in the Mystery Novel What is Literary Style? What is Theme in Literature? 7 Murder Weapons That Will Challenge The Cleverest Sleuth 7 Characteristics of Today’s Modern Mystery Novels Developing Characters is No Mystery Author’s Voice: How to find it? What is Story Structure? […]

    Like

  10. […] 4 Do’s and Don’ts of  ”Show, Don’t Tell.” How Do Conflict and Crisis Differ in a Mystery Novel? How Important is Conflict in a Mystery Story? How to Create Minor Characters in Your Mystery Novel Pacing: A Critical Element in the Mystery Novel What is Literary Style? What is Theme in Literature? 7 Murder Weapons That Will Challenge The Cleverest Sleuth 7 Characteristics of Today’s Modern Mystery Novels Developing Characters is No Mystery Author’s Voice: How to find it? What is Story Structure? […]

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  12. […] writing tips: What is Story Structure? 6 Ways to Avoid “Information Dumps” in a […]

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  13. […] Writing Tips: What is Story Structure? 6 Ways to Avoid “Information Dumps” in a Mystery Novel 4 Do’s and Don’ts of  ”Show, […]

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  14. […] What is Story Structure? […]

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