Structuring your novel – K.M.Weiland Story Structure

K M Weiland’s methods guide writers to understand story and scene structure. She helps to perfectly time a story’s major events and evaluate a novel’s pacing and progression. We highly recommend buying her Structuring Your Novel book to make the most of this planning method.

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An inherent question. Introduce the character. Introduce the setting. Make a sweeping declaration to make the reader ask why. Set the tone. Grab attention.

This fuels the entire plot. Will the hero find true love? Will the baddy be beaten? This must be presented in the first scene.

After the hook you must introduce the protagonist, antagonist, love interest, sidekick, mentors etc.

Stakes and setting. What do your characters care about? What’s the worst thing that can happen? Show an investment in the current world. Don’t pick arbitrary settings, make your settings work.

This is about 25% of the way into your story. This changes everything. It’s a point of no return and marks the end of Act 1. Make it a big event.

From 25% to 50% of the novel. This covers reaction to the events of the first plot point. The antagonist responds.

This is around 40% into the story. The antagonist impresses the reader. Something raises the stakes.

The protagonist will gain the skills or items necessary for final battle in Act 3.

This is 50% of the way into your story. Everything changes again. The second plot point is bigger than the first, like a second inciting incident. It changes the whole paradigm of the story. The protagonist’s reaction this time is to take charge. A character often moves from defence to attack.

From 50% to 75% of the story. The protagonist is reborn after personal revelations at the mid-point. There is a sense of, “I can do it, yes I can!” It’s important to remember the character arc and overcoming flaws. A character’s change must be gradually revealed through overcoming obstacles.

Around 60% of the way into the story. Show the antagonist might still win. Foreshadow the final battle. This is a place of revelation for the protagonist.

75% onwards. Pick up the pace of the story with events here.

This plot point can upend everything. Dealing with this will fulfil the character arc.

An edge of the seat moment. Make it fast and big. This ends the primary conflict between the protagonist and the antagonist. The protagonist has a revelation that leads to beating the enemy. This may be an internal or external change.

This should be bitter sweet, it will tie up loose ends.

A summation of the story, ideally with a theme reference. A ‘happily ever after’ moment.