On this blog every Tuesday and Friday I write about story techniques, structure, and/or publishing. Comments and questions are welcome. I also have a personal blog, Amy Deardon, on which I write about a variety of topics purely as they catch my fancy.

I've written one novel, A Lever Long Enough, that I'm honored to say has won two awards. In my life BC (before children) I was a scientist who did bench research.

My book, The Story Template: Conquer Writer's Block Using the Universal Structure of Story, is now available in both hard-copy and e-book formats. I also coach would-be novelists and screenwriters to develop their story. YOU CAN CONTACT ME at amydeardon at yahoo dot com.

Friday, March 30, 2012

your Skeletal Story Outline

Now you need to start a preliminary structure of your story. First, identify where your protagonist is starting, and where he will finish.

A very rough story structure can be described using the story goal and five general points of the story flow:

1. Beginning
2. Story Goal
3. Door
4. Journey
5. Slide
6. Resolution

Beginning -- describes "ordinary world" plus a change;

Story Goal -- overall goal that the protagonist wants to achieve by the end of the story

Door -- point where the protagonist embarks on a "journey" to achieve the story goal;

Journey -- long middle section of the story;

Slide -- point where the action changes again, and the story moves onto a course of resolution;

Resolution -- the end of the story


The Lord of the Rings (The Fellowship)
Beginning: Frodo lives in the Shire when he is given the One Ring by his Uncle Bilbo. Frodo wants to hide it.

Story Goal: Gandalf says the Ring must be destroyed in the fires of Mount Doom.

Door: Frodo leaves the Shire with Sam.

Journey: Frodo and Sam meet friends and form the Fellowship. They have many adventures and trials traveling toward Mount Doom.

Slide: Orcs fall upon the group, and Frodo and Sam are separated from the others.

Resolution: The story is continued in the next two books, but in this one Frodo and Sam continue alone. Frodo realizes that only he is able to bear the Ring long enough to destroy it.


The Wizard of Oz
Beginning: Dorothy is a farm girl in Kansas when her dog Toto is taken from her by Miss Gulch.

Bridging Story Goal: She decides to get Toto back.

Door: A tornado lifts Dorothy and Toto into the Land of Oz.

Story Goal: Dorothy wants to convince the Wizard of Oz in the Emerald City to get her home.

Journey: Dorothy meets friends, and they have many adventures and trials traveling towards the Emerald City.

Slide: Dorothy kills the witch so she can bring the witch's broomstick to the wizard, then he will help her go home.

Resolution: Dorothy learns the wizard is a fraud but she uses the ruby slippers she's already wearing to get home.


Now write the stages for your own story.

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