Search Results for: climax

The Secrets of Story Structure, Pt. 8: The Second Half of the Second Act

Now that we’ve passed the midpoint, things are starting to heat up in our story. The second half of the second act is where your plot really starts popping. Your main character caps the dramatic event at the midpoint with his decision to stop reacting and start acting. Almost always, this is born of a personal revelation, even […]

The Secrets of Story Structure, Pt. 7: The Midpoint

Halfway through our stories, something marvelous happens. There we are, minding our own business, toiling along in the seemingly endless desert of the second act, when—whap! bang! shazam!—everything changes all over again. Legendary director Sam Peckinpah talked about how he always looked for a “centerpiece” on which to “hang” his story. That centerpiece is your second major plot point, the […]

The Secrets of Story Structure, Pt. 6: The First Half of the Second Act

Every segment of a story offers its own challenges, but perhaps none leaves writers more bewildered than the second act. Beginnings and endings are tough to get right, but at least we have a checklist of things to accomplish. The middle of the story, on the other hand, is a yawning blank. We feel like we’re entirely on our […]

The Secrets of Story Structure, Pt. 4: The First Plot Point

Stories are a series of scenes. Some of those scenes are expected, some of them are even purposefully repetitious for the sake of emphasis. But some scenes change everything. These game changers are the plot points. They introduce significant elements and events that alter the subsequent course of the story. Your story can have any […]

The Secrets of Story Structure, Pt. 3: The First Act

Once you’ve hooked the reader, your next task is to put your early chapters to work introducing your characters, settings, and stakes. The first 20-25% of the book comprises your setup. At first glance, this can seem like a tremendous chunk of story to devote to introductions, but if you expect readers to stick with you throughout the story, […]

The Secrets of Story Structure, Pt. 2: The Hook

Readers are like fish. Smart fish. Fish who know authors are out to get them, reel them in, and capture them for the rest of their seagoing lives. But, like any self-respecting fish, readers aren’t caught easily. They aren’t about to surrender themselves to the lure of your story unless you’ve presented them with an irresistible hook. Our discussion […]

Does Your Story Have Too Many Characters?

For most of us, our characters are the reason we start writing. There’s a voice or a face in our heads, and we have to get it out on paper just to discover what it’s all about. So we start writing, and every time the plot takes a new turn, we add another character. And […]

A Must-Know Tip for Writing Slam-Bang Finales

The ending of your novel is make or break territory for your readers. If you’ve convinced them to keep reading this far, you need to have something extra special in store for them come the end. If you disappoint readers in your story’s Climax, you risk losing those readers forever. So how can you dazzle […]

5 Elements of a Resonant Closing Line

As important as the opening line may be to convincing someone to read your book, the closing line is the one that determines how well your story works—and whether or not readers will find your story a satisfying experience. Last month, we talked about the 5 Elements of a Riveting Opening Line, and today we’re […]

Reading With Attention

  Reading for Plot Structure Whatever book you’re reading right this very minute, take a quick second to look in the back and see how many pages it has. Rounded, I mean. Find a scrap of paper or a used envelope and jot this down at the bottom: total number of pages. Now divide that […]