I’ve been grappling with story structure as of late. Larry Brooks’s discussion of structure in Story Engineering opened my eyes to the fact that I need to pay more attention to this aspect of my writing—and made me realize that I either need to do some story planning or wrestle my stories into structure in later drafts. He breaks story into four parts, each about 25 percent of the manuscript:

  1. Part One: Setup
  2. Part Two: Response
  3. Part Three: Attack
  4. Part Four: Resolution

Case in point: The first draft of Goblins and Grimoires is done! It’s about 20,000 words too short, though, according to my estimates, based on Larry Brooks’s structure. Part One should be the first 20 to 25 percent of the story. Right now, it’s at 42 percent. Ouch. Some massive expansion of that story is in order, because I feel like most of what takes place in the first part is necessary. Part Two is woefully short and needs a lot of expansion. Over the next few weeks I plan to work on editing and expanding that story.

The thing is, I now have a blueprint. As a result, I’m not so much feeling overwhelmed as I am relieved. I don’t just know that my draft isn’t working; I know why. And that’s a huge help.

So, this week’s progress…

Writing: Wrote a total of 11,885 words—10,771 in Goblins and Grimoires; 807 in “Silver Waters,” a retelling of “The Frog Prince”; and 307 in “The Keeper’s Tale,” a short story.

Reading: Finished reading Story Engineering by Larry Brooks. Continued reading Once Upon a Curse, a short story collection, and started reading Twilight Guardians by Maggie Shayne.

A Round of Words in 80 Days is the writing challenge that knows you have a life. Click here to cheer on fellow participants.

What about you? How do you go about dealing with story structure in your work?

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