Greetings from the Nanosphere! I am desperately behind, but slowly closing up that gap. I’m not quite as panicky as I was feeling last week, haha. Things might be okay? We’ll see. In fact, I was so wrapped up in writing tonight that I just barely remember that I haven’t posted for the week yet! Whoops!
You’ll remember a few months ago that I wrote about the Hero’s Journey and mentioned that there were plenty of other story structures floating about. And then a couple weeks ago, I reblogged Steve Seager’s Beyond the Hero’s Journey, which highlighted four of those other structures.
Well, this week we have even more! With a hop, skip, and a jump over to the Reedsy blog, you can read up on seven narrative structures and how to use them. And that’ll give me a little more time to finish up my own narrative structure! One week to go!
PS- To all my fellow Americans, happy Thanksgiving this week! Be safe!
Story Structure: 7 Narrative Structures All Writers Should Know
Nothing makes the challenging task of writing a novel feel more attainable than adopting a story structure to help you plot your narrative.
While using a pre-existing blueprint might make you worry about ending up with a formulaic, predictable story, you can probably analyze most of your favorite books using various narrative structures that writers have been using for decades (if not centuries)!
This post will reveal seven distinct story structures that any writer can use to build a compelling narrative. But first…
What is narrative structure?
Narrative structure (also known as story structure) is the order in which elements of a narrative are presented to the reader or audience. It is composed of two things:
- Plot — the chain of events that occur in the book; and
- Story elements — the underlying factors that drive the narrative action: protagonists, conflicts, setting, etc.
By weaving together a plot and its driving forces, a storyteller can draw connections between ‘things that happen’ and ‘things that matter.’ A tale about two vastly different people falling in love can also be about the value of compromise. An account of two brothers who rob a bank can become an examination of greed, loyalty, or the failure of the American Dream.
Good narrative structure is about presenting the plot and story elements to allow readers to understand what is happening and what it all means. It unravels the plot in a way that doesn’t accidentally confuse the reader while also pushing along the characters’ development and the central conflicts. Structure helps the storyteller deliver a satisfying narrative experience — whether it’s meant to be happy, hilarious, or tragic.
Writers can turn to story theory and narrative structure whenever their story just isn’t working; when they feel that their writing is awkward, aimless, or — worst of all — boring. Writing is an art, but if there’s one part of the craft that’s closer to science, this would be it. Become a master of story structure, and you will have the world at your feet.
Ready to read the rest? Go check it out! And until next week, happy writing!