Story Structure #10: Part Four

Finally…

Story Engineering Model (four-part story model): Part Four, the final ~25% of our story.

And here we are. We’ve made it to the culmination of all our hard work. The end in in sight. Time to bring it all together into a satisfying sign-off. Our hero has come through a lot, and has earned the right to finally win one, the big one. But it will take some time to build up to it.

Here are the pitstops we want to hit along the way:

  • Nothing New – Once again, remember that no new information can be introduced here. No new characters either.
    • Exceptions: If it has already been foreshadowed or referenced, or is in some other way already in play, all’s fair. We can sneak things in here only if they’re not really new, but revisited.
  • Step Up – In the fourth box, our hero steps up, takes the lead, passes the final test, proves he is changed, saves the day, and otherwise does whatever is necessary to prevail against the darkness.
  • Show It – We need to demonstrate that our hero’s inner demons are conquered, not just his external struggles.
    • We can use the energy harnessed from the defeat of the real struggles to power our hero through his exterior conflicts.
  • Me, me, me, meeee… – We must not rob our hero of his glory. Our hero, and only our hero, must be the primary catalyst for our story’s conclusion. It is his thunder, and no one else’s; don’t steal it.
    • Our hero cannot:
      • observe or narrate,
      • be a supporting character,
      • or be rescued.
    • He must take the lead in solving and conquering.
  • Stir Those Emotions – Time to pull out all the stops. Our job is to make our reader laugh, cry, cheer, applaud, remember. No matter what feelings they feel, we need to make them feel deeply.
  • Tie ‘Em Up – And finally, tie up those loose ends, at least the major ones.
    • We might want to leave a few of the minors flapping in the wind:
      • To keep our readers thinking long after they close the book.
      • To allow them to participate and draw their own conclusions.
      • To leave some space open for sequel possibilities?

That’s it.

In the immortal words of Madeline’s Ludwig Bemelmans: That’s all there is, there isn’t any more.


Here’s a slightly more abbreviated outline of Part Four and its missions, all in a neat little pdf package, complete with space for you to make some notes on your own story: Four-Part Story Structure – Part Four (#7)

To view a chronological listing of the posts in this series, continue below:

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