Story Structure

Organic Architecture: Links to the Whole Series

I want to thank everyone for reading my Organic Architecture Series! I realize this was a long series with lots of posts. The following are the links to all the different articles. Feel free to bookmark this page for easy reference! Happy plotting, structuring, and designing, everyone! Organic Architecture Series: Organic Architecture Series Introduction Classic…

Keep Reading »

The Many Layers of Structure and Design

I’ve spent the last two months talking all about classical design, alternative structures and plots, and designing principles! Hopefully you’ve seen that there are innumerable design possibilities at your fingertips. But as I walked us through this series, I’m sure a few of you read my posts and thought to yourself: Doesn’t that story fit…

Keep Reading »

Designing Principle #6: Storyteller

The final category in my series on designing principles is the storyteller. Who is your novel’s storyteller? At the outset, it might not seem like the point-of-view or the narrator you chose to tell your story would have a large impact on its structure, but it does. Imagine if how differently the The Usual Suspects…

Keep Reading »

Designing Principle #4: Community

Some stories are not about a single protagonist. Sometimes a group or community becomes the larger focus. Using a community as a designing principle is the fourth category in this series. Give a Boy a Gun by Todd Struasser explores the complexity of a school shooting and could have been told from POV of the shooter,…

Keep Reading »

Designing Principle #3: Time

We live our lives in a linear progression and that affects the way we think about narrative, how to live our lives, and what we value.  Structurally and metaphorically time can be an interesting element to design with. Continuing our discussion on designing principles, lets see how the way we use time can become an…

Keep Reading »

Designing Principle #2: Setting and Environment

My second category in my series on designing principle is using your setting and environment to as inspiration for your story’s design. It’s interesting that the predominant structure we talk about is a mountain, which is ultimately a metaphor for a certain kind of movement and escalating energy to a story. In my first post…

Keep Reading »

Designing Principle #1: A Character’s Mental State

My first category exploring the concept of a designing principle is a character’s mental state. A lot of novels today are written in the first person and the reader is allowed inside a character’s mind. If you’re writing in first person consider the mental state of your character. Is there a design that could mimic…

Keep Reading »

Alternative Structures (Part 2)

In my last post we began our survey of alternative story structures. That post covered non-linear structure, episodic structure with an arc, wheel structure, and meandering structure. Today we’ll continue to push past the traditional story structure idea of a mountain or triangle shape to consider branching structure, spiral structure, multiple POV structure, parallell structure, and cumulative…

Keep Reading »

Alternative Structures (Part 1)

I’ve spent a lot of time in this organic architecture series talking about plot plot plot plot. (If you’ve missed those post please check out:  arch plot, alternative plots, and plot genres). But it’s time to switch gears and think about organization, rhythm, and energy. That’s right let’s talk structure! (Which, if you don’t remember I’m…

Keep Reading »

The Hidden Agenda of Classic Design and the Hero’s Journey

From my previous posts outlining the major beats of classic design  (aka: arch plot, the universal story, mythic structure, the hero’s journey, etc.) you’ve seen that this design is very precise. If done well this “universal story” creates a satisfying story experience where all the pieces seem to fall effortlessly into place. It’s clean. It’s inspiring. It’s tempting…

Keep Reading »