Story Structures

Story Structures

Much like building a house with a strong foundation, we must build our stories using structure to shape them. Today we’re going to look over a few different structures we can use to build your story successfully.

The Three Act Structure

  • Act 1- Exposition. This is where we establish the main characters, their relationships with each other, and the story world they inhabit. It ends with the inciting incident.
  • Act 2- Rising action. This is where our protagonist tries to deal with the story problem and fails. The character must grow and change in order to accomplish her goals. The first half we have things happening to our protagonist and they are just reacting. The second half is where they become active rather than reactive. They make the decisions and plan and do.
  • Act 3- Climax and resolution. The climax is the biggest climactic event where the hero goes head to head with the antagonist. The rest of the act is all about wrapping up all the plot lines and establishing the new norm for the characters.

The Fichtean Curve

  • The Fichtean Curve starts with rising action mixed with exposition. It starts with the inciting incident and has 3 crises points, leading up to the climax two-thirds of the way into the story. The rest of the time is spent on the resolution.

The Hero’s Journey

  • This is often used for fantasy, sci-fi, and horror stories. It starts in the character’s known world and then they receive a call for action that they usually refuse initially. Eventually they take the call and enter a new world full of conflict thanks to the antagonist. They defeat the bad guy in a moment of death and rebirth, transforming themselves before returning home.

In Media Res

  • In media res means starting in the middle. It starts in the middle of the action, juggling crises points with flashbacks and exposition before reaching the climax. This is then followed by falling action and more flashbacks before the resolution.

These structures give your story shape and can help you plot your story before you begin. Find the one that works best for you and for your story and get started. Which structure is your personal favorite? Let me know in the comments and happy writing!


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