So there we have it… after a brief Boundary Waters-induced hiatus… Larry Brooks’ Story Engineering structure model in a nutshell. It was necessarily abbreviated, quite severely. But it gives us an idea of what he believes needs to happen in our novels.
I hope that my notes help you a tiny bit in your quest for plot structure. I know that compiling them and plowing through them in order to present them here has solidified his ideas in my mind, making them easier to recall and regurgitate as I need them in my own work. This might be a good place to note again that what I presented here was my collection of notes on Larry Brooks’ book. Not my own creation. Not even creatively reworded in many instances. Seems pretty apparent, but you know, just in case someone gets all uppity, I’m giving credit where credit is due.
I am still a pantser, reluctant to fill in any blanks in order to create my story, but I do think that Mr. Brooks has a powerful observation of powerful stories through the ages. Probably one I would do well to emulate. I’ll take it in in my own way, and on my own time, like everything else I do. We’ll see if by the time this baby reaches publication it hasn’t become a nice fit for Larry Brooks’ boxes. You never can tell till the journey ends, right?
If you’re interested, go ahead and order Story Engineering from your local library. Dig a little deeper. Story structure is only one of the six ‘core competencies’ Larry totes as the keys to successful storytelling in SE. He has a lot more to say about concept, characters, theme, scene execution and voice. A worthwhile read, to be sure. It might be right up your alley, and even if it isn’t, you’ll probably glean some tools that are.
His next book, Story Physics, is on me shelf too, but hasn’t been cracked yet. Maybe some day.
Next up: Christopher Vogler’s Writer’s Journey model. This one should be fun.
BUT FIRST, a little homework:
- Re-read the first post in this series. Really. Now that we’ve come through the SE model, and before we move on, you should re-read it.
- Re-read the second post in this series. Same reason. Really. I’m not kidding.
See you in a bit. Let me know how the homework goes…
To bring it all together, here is the entire Story Engineering outline, all the previous pages compiled into one pdf: Four-Part Story Structure – Complete
To view a chronological listing of the posts in this series, continue below:
- Structure Series #1: First Things First, or Donald Maass Strikes Again (6/8/2015)
- Structure Series #2: Plotting for the Pantser (6/11/2015)
- Structure Series #3: To Begin… a Story Engineering overview (6/18/2015)
- Structure Series #4: Part One (6/24/2015)
- Structure Series #5: First Plot Point (7/1/2015)
- Structure Series #6: Part Two (and Pinch Point One) (7/5/2015)
- Structure Series #7: Midpoint (7/10/2015)
- Story Structure #8: Part Three (and Pinch Point Two) (7/15/2015)
- Story Structure #9: Second Plot Point (7/21/2015)
- Story Structure #10: Part Four (7/27/2015)
- Story Structure #11: Story Engineering Wrap-Up (8/16/2015)
- Story Structure #12: Introducing The Writer’s Journey (8/19/2015)
- Story Structure #13: The Writer’s Journey: The Archetypes and the Map (8/20/2015)
- Story Structure #14: Act I, Stage 1: The Ordinary World (8/21/2015)
- Story Structure #15: Act I, Stage 2: The Call to Adventure (8/22/2015)
- Story Structure #16: Act I, Stage 3: Refusal of the Call (8/23/2015)
- Story Structure #17: Act I, Stage 4: Meeting with the Mentor (8/24/2015)
- Story Structure #18: Act I, Stage 5: Crossing the First Threshold (8/25/2015)
- Story Structure #19: Act II, Stage 6: Tests, Allies, and Enemies (8/26/2015)
- Story Structure #20: Act II, Stage 7: Approach to the Inmost Cave (8/27/2015)
- Story Structure #21: Act II, Stage 8: The Ordeal (8/28/2015)
- Story Structure #22: Act II, Stage 9: Seizing the Reward (8/29/2015)
- Story Structure #23: Act III, Stage 10: The Road Back (8/30/2015)
- Story Structure #24: Act III, Stage 11: The Resurrection (8/31/2015)
- Story Structure #25: Act III, Stage 12: Return with the Elixer (9/1/2015)
- Story Structure #26: Wrap-Up (9/2/2015)