Story Structure Diagram

Story structure. There are many experts out there who can share great insights on the topic. I don’t claim to be one of them. What I am, though, is a visual person who likes her diagrams. Over the years I’ve read posts and books on the subject and have taken notes. Yet, for all the great information I’ve read, there was often frustration with diagrams that didn’t stress what I was most interested in. Too, there are so many conflicting, confusing terms.

My inner diagrammer started whispering to let her out.

Over the last six months I’ve learned I’m not the only one looking for something new. I’d always assumed it was just me. Not so. Not long ago I was explaining the difference between two terms to someone on Twitter.

A year ago I sketched my own diagram and started adding the information I wanted included, thus creating a hybrid visual. Over time I picked up additional nuggets of advice and added those, too. The sources are too many to mention, though three sites that standout are Jami Gold, Paranormal Author; Helping Writers Become Authors; and Ink and Quills. But, like I said, there are many more.

I reached a point where my diagram was a mass of twisting arrows and overlapping notes. It was a mess. I vowed to recreate it on the computer, make it easier to read, and share it in the hope it worked for someone else, too. I pray there aren’t grievous errors and admit that it’s an ongoing process (I was still updating it while writing this).

Feel free to use it and share it. I’ve posted it on Pinterest, too.

In the end, despite my making a big deal about unveiling it, this is just another story structure diagram. There are many out there. As I said, this one is a hybrid so it won’t match any others exactly. Too, there are conflicts that exist over terms. I’ve fallen on the side of those who made the most sense to me.

If this helps even one other person then I’m glad I made this effort.

©2016 CA Hawthorne

©2016, CA Hawthorne

7 Replies to “Story Structure Diagram”

  1. Pingback: Story Structure Diagram | Christina Anne Hawthorne

    • Thank you, Cheryl, things are going great. I can’t say how long it took to accumulate all the information since it was spread over time, but the diagram probably took a few hours. I hope you’re doing well.

  2. It does seem like one of the clearer summaries I’ve seen.

    I wonder how broadly applicable it is. Some of the moments seem targeted to a particular type of plot: for example, where protagonist and antagonist face off.

    It might also be intriguing to try and diagram a story with two parallel plotlines, like the one I’m working on.

    • Thank you, I’m glad you find merit in the diagram. The idea of the protagonist/antagonist encounter is meant in a symbolic sense and as examples. After all, the antagonist can take many forms. Too, many of the descriptions are taken from the Hero’s Journey because they’re easy to envision. I’d imagine the possible variations on the story structure diagram are many, I’ve several on a Pinterest board already. The best of luck with the parallel plot lines. There’s nothing like a good challenge.

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