So I was introduced to a fabulous structure method this past week. It has been widely circulated by Dan Wells, a murder/mystery writer, and he has a fabulous youtube playlist where he outlines the general theory and gives plenty of examples - but I'm going to describe it as briefly as I can. And hopefully you'll get the gist and be able to refer to it. (And you can bet I'll pull this up when I get stuck.)
So the 7 Point Plot Structure is relatively simple for the overarching storyline of the story. It goes as follows:
Hook - this is where the story begins, it's what your characters start out as or the situation they're in or the actions that are happening at that moment
Plot Turn 1 - the part that forces the character or action to move forward
Pinch 1 - where something serious happens that really puts pressure on the character to fall irrevocably into the arch of the story
Midpoint - the point of no return, where the character makes that conscious decision to change or move forward on their own (this is where we transition from the Hook to the Resolution)
Pinch 2 - the point where the story really dips and something extreme happens (the mentor is lost, the friends disappear, the protag is left alone and in dire straights)
Plot Turn 2 - this is where the story reveals the tools or secrets needed to triumph (the power is in you!! the climax of the arc)
Resolution - the story has concluded and we find ourselves in an opposite state from the initial Hook
There. Simple enough for ya? Now hold onto your hats, folks, because this is where it gets a little bit awesome. You have to have many different plots in one story - all the best ones do! There are character development plots, action timeline plots, romance plots, betrayal plots, friendship plots... this list goes on and on! To REALLY make your story pop, you take all of these 7 points in each plot an weave them together into a complex tapestry of awesome novel.
I've been working on my new idea this way... and it's pretty awesome to have a grasp on it like that. I don't know how anyone could go about writing a novel without knowing, at least a little bit, where they intend to go. It's amazing to me that some authors actually do that.
Armed with my tools, I feel ready to conquer this fabulous idea that's been rolling around in my head for the past month or so! I am SO ready for NaNoWritMo... one book in a month? Bring it on!!
Oh, and if you want to watch Dan Wells' in depth presentation on the 7 points, you can watch it below! He does some great examples to really help you grasp it. From Harry Potter and Game of Thrones to The Matrix, Star Wars, and even Pride and Prejudice... he drives the theory home! And to make sure I really got the concept, I took a few other stories and movies myself and applied the 7 point structure (of course I threw in some Heroic Journey here and there). Enjoy!