Posts tagged Plot Structure
How to Craft Static Character Arcs For Your Novel

A character arc follows the inner journey a character undergoes throughout a story.

In most cases, we think of character arcs as being transformative. A protagonist overcomes a fear or flaw in an effort to achieve their goal, or an anti-hero finds themselves falling victim to their darkest doubts and desires. But what about those arcs in which no transformation takes place? Is a character arc lacking in development if the character remains the person they are when their story began?

Not at all, writer — or, at least, not necessarily. When crafted with intention, this type of arc can tell a powerful inner story. Today on the blog, let’s take the time to break down the major beats that bring this static arc to life.

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How to Craft Negative Character Arcs For Your Novel


A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away, I wrote an article on character arcs.

In that article, I explained the importance of developing character arcs in your stories, established the three arcs found in fiction, and broke down the eleven major beats that comprise the most popular of the three: positive change arcs. I also asked if you’d be interested in similar breakdowns of the remaining two styles, negative change arcs and flat arcs, and your answer was a resounding yes.

Despite this, I found myself caught up in other articles and topics and failed to circle back around — until now, that is. Today, I’m excited to delve into the dark descent of negative change arcs with you all, soon to be followed by an article on flat arcs as well. Have a character for whom a bittersweet or tragic ending is in order? This is the article for you, writer.

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Do You Know What Drives Your Story’s Narrative?

At the heart of every good story is an arc, a series of related events that compels the reader to engage with the narrative.

Sometimes, that arc is one of external thrills and escapades. Will they catch the killer? Will she break the curse? Other times, that arc is one of inner turmoil or transformation. Will his pride lead to eventual downfall? Will she find it in her heart to forgive? Certainly, both types of arcs can be present in a story. But ultimately, only one can serve as the driving force behind its narrative.

As writers, why is it important to understand which arc lies at the heart of our stories? Let’s examine the difference between plot-driven and character-driven narratives today on the blog.

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Outline Your Novel With the 3-Act Story Structure

Are you ready to take the overwhelm out of outlining your novel?

Transforming a new story idea or a shapeless first draft into a spectacular full-length book is more than a little difficult. There are endless elements at play: plot arcs, character arcs, stakes, themes, pacing... It's no wonder many writers struggle to give life to the stories in their heads. 

Fortunately, giving shape to your story doesn't have to be as difficult as it may seem. You can craft a strong blueprint for your novel with ease by making good use of a little tool called story structure.

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How to Tackle The Pesky Middle Act (a #StorySocial recap)

Hello, friends! Time for another #StorySocial recap. Never heard of it?

#StorySocial is the weekly chat I host every Wednesday at 9pm Eastern on Twitter. Each week, dozens of writers get together for about an hour to chat about a fun writerly topic. This past Wednesday, we talked all about how to tackle the pesky middle act of our stories.

Did you miss out? Couldn't make it? No worries. I'm sharing a recap of this week's chat below. Check it out!
 

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Just how important is story structure? (a #StorySocial recap)

Hello, friends! Time for another #StorySocial recap. Never heard of it?

#StorySocial is the weekly chat I host every Wednesday at 9pm Eastern on Twitter. Each week, dozens of writers get together for about an hour to chat about a fun writerly topic. This past Wednesday, we talked all about the importance of story structure.

Did you miss out? Couldn't make it? No worries. I'm sharing a recap of this week's chat below. Check it out!

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How to Craft Riveting Internal Conflict For Your Story

Conflict is the backbone of any good story.

External conflict, which we broke down recently here on the blog, occurs between a character and an outside force, whether that be another character or an element of nature, society, or technology. On the other hand, internal conflict arises from an ethical or emotional debate that occurs within a character.

This style of conflict, while occurring in some form in every story, has the same ability to carry the full weight of a plot as external conflict. But how? Well, let’s discuss internal conflict together today!

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Breaking Down The Four Main Types of External Conflict

Conflict drives narrative.

As humans, our curiosity piques when two forces oppose one another. “What is happening?”, we ask. Why are these two forces at odds? How will the conflict play out? Who will win? What would I do if I were in that situation?

These are the questions readers ask, more or less subconsciously, as they read. Which means they’re also exactly the kinds of questions writers should ask themselves when crafting plots for their stories.

In stories, as in life, there are two types of conflict: internal and external. Internal conflicts are the mental, emotional, or spiritual struggles a person faces—Character vs Self—which we’ll talk about on the blog soon!

Today, however, we’re going to focus on the second type of struggle: external conflict. Shall we dive into the breakdown? 

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How to Plot Your Story For Success (a #StorySocial chat recap)


Hello, friends! Time for another #StorySocial recap. In case you're new here (or if you've just yet to hear about our chats), allow me to cue you in: #StorySocial is the weekly Twitter chat that I host every Wednesday at 9pm Eastern.

Each week we get together for about an hour to chat about a fun writerly topic. This past Wednesday, we talked about how to build fictional societies as part of the world-building process.

Did you miss out? Couldn't make it? Forgot all about it? No worries! I'm sharing a recap of this week's chat below. Check it out!

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How to Craft Character Arcs for Your Trilogy

Welcome back to our blog miniseries on crafting trilogies!

In last week’s article, we introduced the series and covered a few trilogy basics, including the three main types of trilogies and four ways you can plot your own. But focusing on plot alone won’t help you write a successful trilogy. 

Today, we’re going to turn our attention to character arcs—specifically, the four types of character arcs you can utilize as you map out the inner conflict and development of your trilogy’s characters. Sound like a plan?

Make sure to check out part one of our blog miniseries before getting started, then come on back to dive into the wonderful world of character arcs below!

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Four Ways to Plot a Trilogy

Are you interested in writing a trilogy?

From The Lord of the Rings to The Hunger Games and beyond, it’s plain to see that trilogies stand the test of time among readers. But writing a trilogy? Well, that can be tough!

A good trilogy must hook readers and keep them engaged, maintain good pacing and consistency, and steadily increase in tension toward an epic series climax. Mapping that out? Well, it’s certainly a tall order. No wonder so many authors find the task of writing such a trilogy daunting!

Recently, one of my lovely Patreon supporters asked if I had any tips or tricks for planning a trilogy, and I was shocked to realize I hadn’t yet written any articles on the subject. But better late than never, right?

Over the coming weeks, I’m going to break down the process of crafting a trilogy in depth so you can better plan your own. What’s on today’s agenda? An overview of the common styles of trilogy and the plot structures behind them. Let’s dive in!

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Exploring the Many Ways to Structure a Story (a #StorySocial recap)

Hello, friends! Time for another #StorySocial recap. In case you're new here (or if you've just yet to hear about our chats), allow me to cue you in: #StorySocial is the weekly Twitter chat that I host every Wednesday at 9pm Eastern.

Each week we get together for about an hour to chat about a fun writerly topic. This past Wednesday, we explored the unique ways in which we all structure our stories!

Did you miss out? Couldn't make it? Forgot all about it? No worries! I'm sharing a recap of this week's chat below. Check it out!

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Exploring The Five Layers of Pre-Writing (with guest writer Karah Rachelle)

Pre-writing is one of my favorites parts of the writing process.

I know that statement may have some of you grimacing in revulsion, but hey! We're all different. And that's the beautiful thing about being a writer. There is no one right way to write, which means you have all the freedom in the world to figure out a writing process that works for you.

I've shared a bit about my own pre-writing process in the past (as well as through The Pre-Write Project), but my process certainly isn't the only process.

Today, I'm so excited to welcome author Karah Rachelle to the blog. I loved getting to explore her pre-writing process and gleaning a few tips & tricks that I plan to add to my own process, and I can't wait for you to do the same!

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How to Write Chapters That Captivate Readers

So, chapters.

It occurred to me the other week that I’d yet to talk about them here on Well-Storied, despite the fact that I’ve been running this show for well over two years now. How could I have skipped something so crucial to the structure of a good novel?

I'll be honest. For a long time, I really didn't consider chapters to be all that important. Chapters give your novel structure, sure. But over the years, I've come to realize that that's not all they do...

Chapters also create a sense of pacing, of forward momentum, and---if you play your cards just right----a sense of page-turning urgency. Chapter breaks aren’t just places for readers to stick their bookmarks. They’re an opportunity for you, the author, to further captivate them!

So how can you make sure you’re writing captivating chapters in your own novel? Today, I’m going to break this topic down by answering five of your most popular chapter questions. Let’s go!

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Exploring the Basics of Character Arcs (a #StorySocial recap)

Hello, friends! Time for another #StorySocial recap. In case you're new here (or if you've just yet to hear about our chats), allow me to cue you in: #StorySocial is the weekly Twitter chat that I host every Wednesday at 9pm Eastern.

Each week we get together for about an hour to chat about a fun writerly topic. This past Wednesday, we explored the basics of building strong character arcs for our stories.

Did you miss out? Couldn't make it? Forgot all about it? No worries! I'm sharing a recap of this week's chat below. Check it out!

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The Third Act: How to Write a Climactic Sequence


Writers, it’s time to go out with a bang!

Today, we're back with the third and final installment in our mini-series on the 3-Act Story Structure. Each article in this series builds upon the last, so make sure to check out the first two installments before diving in: 


All caught up? Fantastic!

Today, we’re diving into Act Three of the 3-Act Story Structure. Tension is thick. The final conflict between your protagonist and antagonist looms on the horizon. How can you ensure you write a finale that will blow readers away? Let’s get started with today’s breakdown!

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The Second Act: Is the Middle of Your Story Dragging?


Worried your book isn't exciting enough to maintain readers' interests?

Back in the day, I constantly struggled to write past the first few chapters of a manuscript. I knew who my protagonists were, what they wanted, and how their journeys would end, but how in the world did one fill in the gaps? I hadn't a clue, and because of that struggle, I set aside dozens of unfinished drafts, telling myself I just wasn't good enough to be a writer.

Fortunately, that all changed when I discovered the power of story structure—specifically, the 3-Act Story Structure!

The second act of this popular storytelling blueprint makes plotting the dreaded middle section of your book a breeze, or at least a heck of a lot easier than it was before. How so? Let's discuss just that in today's second installment of our three-part blog miniseries on the 3-Act Story Structure!

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The First Act: Nailing Your Novel's Opening Chapters

Ready to discover the power of story structure? 

Now, don't frown at me. 

I know story structure doesn't sound like the most exciting thing in the world. Well, not to everyone anyway. Personally, I'm kind of a structure freak, so I AM SUPER EXCITED FOR THIS BLOG SERIES.

*ahem* 

Apologies. Got a little excited there. Back to business...

Over the next four weeks, we're going to break down the 3-Act Story Structure. But first, let's talk about why structure is so important. After all, one of the biggest complaints I hear about structure is that it's too rigid, that it makes stories sound old and recycled.

But that's not the case, not if structure is used well.

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Breaking Down The Hero's Journey Plot Structure


Writers, it's time to discuss one of my favorite storytelling topics: plot structure.

Today, in particular, we're going to break down a structure originally outlined by mythologist Joseph Campbell in his book The Hero With a Thousand FacesThe Hero's Journey is a classic plot structure that appears in many speculative fiction books, films, television shows, and other forms of media.

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