Want to Know More About the Structure of Your Favorite Books and Movies? Announcing the Story Structure Database!

Want to Know More About the Structure of Your Favorite Books and Movies? Announcing the Story Structure Database!

Ready for the unveiling of the “Big Secret”? For months, I’ve been hinting at a secret project that’s been in the works just for you Wordplayers! You have all been very industrious with your guesses–everything from my opening up a moose farm, to a role for moi in the next Avengers movie, to a free year’s supply of chocolate for all Wordplayers. Today, I’m super excited to get to put an end to the guessing and unveil what I hope will be a fabulous resource for all of us. What is it? The official Story Structure Database.

What Is the Story Structure Database?

That’s easy. The Story Structure Database is an archive of books and movies, recording all their major plot points:

Nothing can teach us good storytelling like examples from the stories (both successful and otherwise) we have experienced ourselves. I have always encouraged authors to pay attention to structure when reading books and watching movies. All you have to do is divide the total page count or running time in eighths and watch to see what happens near that moment.

But sometimes it’s handy to have someone else’s opinion to back yours up or to clarify things.

That’s where the Story Structure Database comes in. In time, I hope the database will be able to offer thousands of titles. If you’re ever unsure of a structural point in a story—or just want to spend some time browsing examples of story structure—you’ll be able to search the database to find exactly what you’re looking for.

Why Do We Need a Story Structure Database?

The inspiration for this comes thanks to Chris James who emailed me last year, wondering if I could help him nail down the plot points in True Lies and Alien. I hadn’t seen either movie at the time, so wasn’t able to be of much help. But it dawned on me that I was already making a mental note of the story structure of every book I read and every movie I watched. Why not share that information with all of you?

Structuring Your Novel and Structuring Your Novel Workbook by K.M. WeilandEver since I published Structuring Your Novel  and the Structuring Your Novel Workbook, I’ve received many requests for more examples of story structure in popular novels and films. I’ve shared as many pertinent examples as possible in my blog posts, but all of this got me to thinking:

How awesome would it be to have an easily accessible database where authors could look up the story in question and find input on its important structural moments?

This is something I’ve actually searched for myself without ever being able to come up with a satisfactory resource.

How to Use the Story Structure Database

  • Access the database here or by visiting the link in the top menu (or by swiping out the left sidebar, if you’re viewing on a mobile or otherwise small screen).

Story Structure Database Link

Story Structure Database Link on Mobile Menu

  • The database’s home page will offer you all the most recent additions of book and movie titles.
  • Subscribe to the database to receive updates whenever a new title is added by entering your email address into the box in the left-hand column. (Note: This subscription is separate from my e-letter mailing list or the email updates for the blog posts—which you can sign up for in the left column of the main part of the site. The database mailing list will subscribe you only to the database updates.)

Subscribe to Story Structure Database

  • Use the search bar at the top of the right column to browse for specific titles.

Search the Story Structure Database

  • Use the drop-down menu halfway down the right column to browse titles by genre.

Drop-Down Genre Menu for Story Structure Database

Story Structure Database Index

When you click on a title, you’ll discover all its prominent structural points. Armed with a solid understanding of structure and (in most instances) a familiarity with the title, you’ll be able to understand the significance of each event on your own. If you have questions, you’re always free to ask me!

Needless to say, there will be spoilers, so if you haven’t read the book or watch the movie, click on its title at your own risk!

 

We want to create a database that is as accurate as possible, but certain aspects of structure (particularly in stories that aren’t well structured) can be ambiguous. Don’t take every analysis to be gospel. Challenge yourself to read the books and watch the movies so you can identify all the structural points for yourself. Use even structure analyses you disagree with to strengthen your understanding of how to write your own best stories!

I believe the Story Structure Database has the potential to be a tremendous tool for all of us (I’m already using it like crazy myself!). Please join me helping all of us expand our knowledge of story structure and our understanding of amazing tales!

Tell me your opinion: What books and movies would you most like to see added to the Story Structure Database?

 

Want to Know More About the Structure of Your Favorite Books and Movies? Announcing the Story Structure Database!

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About K.M. Weiland | @KMWeiland

K.M. Weiland lives in make-believe worlds, talks to imaginary friends, and survives primarily on chocolate truffles and espresso. She is the IPPY and NIEA Award-winning and internationally published author of the Amazon bestsellers Outlining Your Novel and Structuring Your Novel. She writes historical and speculative fiction from her home in western Nebraska and mentors authors on her award-winning website.

Comments

  1. K.M., this is incredible! When I recently received one of your workbooks, I found myself thinking more deeply and clearly about my writing, and practicing what I read. Now that I have a big project in the initial phase, I am SO eager to view and use your wonderful database. 1000000000 thanks to you for helping us to improve our writing. You are a great teacher as well – kind, firm, clear, and obviously having fun while changing the world of writing!
    Best Wishes, Mary Ellen Latela

    • K.M. Weiland | @KMWeiland says:

      I’m so glad you’ve found the workbooks helpful! I think the database should be a good tool in addition to them.

  2. This is a good idea. I’ve always had a hard time finding most of the structural points in novels I’ve studied. Experimental fiction is the hardest to study.

    Lie Down in Darkness by William Styron and The Household of Bouverie by Catherine Warefield are two books I hope you add to the database.

  3. So KM, I’ve got four of your books and have been reading your blog and watching your videos for years. But this time, I finally HAD to post a comment. The Story Structure database? What an awesome educational tool! Such a huge help!! I mean, everything do you do is a huge help. But this is sooooo cool! Thank you so much—for all you do!

  4. What a brilliant resource – thank you! I look forward to browsing. Currently revising my manuscript using your “structure” book and these will be really useful learning.

  5. This is such a cool educational tool! I cannot wait to get into it. This so awesome of you to invest time and effort in making it easier for the rest of us. I read your blog daily and have all your tool books which really help and motivate me! Thank you!

  6. As a fellow Story Structure geek, I’m so excited about this project! I will definitely be linking to this database from my beat sheet page. 🙂

    Thanks for doing all this work and providing these examples for people!

    • K.M. Weiland | @KMWeiland says:

      Thanks, Jami! Much appreciated. And from one story structure geek to another, I hope you’ll contribute too! 😀

  7. Wow.

  8. this is fantastic!! I can’t wait to delve in. Such an awesome resourse tool!! Thank you.

  9. Another fabulous and convenient resource, Katie — thank you! Structuring Your Novel has become my favorite writing resource, and the examples of film and literature you provide to illustrate the major plot points, both in the book and here on your blog, have been tremendously helpful. I find myself trying to identify plot points now in every movie I watch, and in every novel I read. Thank you for your tireless effort in helping so many writers!

  10. What a fantastic resource! Thank you.

  11. Wow! Thanks! What an awesome idea. I’ve been trying to read a lot of those classics I was probably supposed to read years ago and I think this will be a great help in understanding their mechanics.

    I’ve been reading Jurassic Park again with the intent to figure out its structure but I’m discovering that I’m really bad at pinpointing specific scenes. Would love to see this one added to see if I’m kind of right in my assessment. Oddly, I feel a lot more confident in picking out those scenes in my own WIPs but that’s probably because your workbooks ask beautiful questions. 🙂

  12. That project sounds amazing!

  13. Emilyn Wood says:

    I think it would be splendid if you included the word count and/or number of pages/chapters in the book as well as the structure. I started to do something similar in a document so that I could get a good idea of it all.
    Knowing what the inciting incident is is valuable.
    I didn’t see Jane Eyre in the database. I’d really like to find that one in it.

  14. Lisa Godfrees says:

    This is so very helpful. Thank you for putting this together and letting us use it for free!

  15. This is so amazing. I’ve only just started breaking down novels I love, to help me understand structure, which has been my biggest hurdle.

    As soon as I feel confident that what I’ve done is right, I’ll try to add the ones I’m working on. The first novel in the Expanse series, Leviathan Wakes, is the only one I feel pretty good about, but I’ll try to add that soon.

    Thank you so much for this, the time, resources, and the hard work – it’s truly revolutionary!

  16. This is amazing, thank you so much for putting this together and letting us access it for free!! It’s both extremely helpful and also super interesting (even when you’re not trying to write anything, I think it’s cool to have a look at the structure of novels and see all the plot points and turns and the way it’s structured).
    Lots of Kudos and Hugs for you since that’s about all I can contribute with. 😉

Trackbacks

  1. […] Story structure database — Fiction author, author mentor and podcaster K.M. Weiland has created this archive of books and movies, recording all their major plot points. I love this idea, and personally learn best when I can see examples of the theory. Plus readers are invited to submit their own story structure breakdowns! […]

  2. […] Uncover the Structure of Your Favorite Books & Movies: The Story Structure Database! via @KMWeiland h/t @bullishink […]

  3. […] Want to Know More About the Structure of Your Favorite Books and Movies? Announcing the Story Struct… […]

  4. […] Weiland introduces the Story Structure Database, and excellent new resource for writers. You can contribute to it, […]

  5. […] Story Structure Database  You can help add to this free wonderful resource tool.  Check it out! From K. M. Weiland:  Today, I’m super excited to get to put an end to the guessing and unveil what I hope will be a fabulous resource for all of us. What is it? The official Story Structure Database.  What Is the Story Structure Database?  That’s easy. The Story Structure Database is an archive of books and movies, recording all their major plot points: […]

  6. […] given us writers a new invaluable resource to learn art&craft of beautiful, compelling stories. The Story Structure Database is finally online, and I’m sure I’m going to spend a lot of my writer’s time […]

  7. […] Weiland presents Want to Know More About the Structure of Your Favorite Books and Movies? Announcing the Story Struct… posted at Helping Writers Become Authors, saying, “The Story Structure Database …read […]

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