Tuesday, August 1, 2023

Story Structure

I’ve been reading Hillary Waugh’s “Guide to Mysteries & Mystery Writing” (1991). In Chapter 13, ‘The Mystery Versus the Novel,’ he discusses whodunnit, howdunnit, and howcatchem (p. 163).

My third Detective Scott McGregor story, “Forever After,” is a howcatchem. The reader knows whodunnit from the opening page. The following chapters show howdunnit.

I’m trying (again) to match my howcatchem plot to one of the many story structures. My story has three point-of-view (POV) characters, and the plot’s ‘beats’ include turning points from all three POV storylines.

For an overview of seven popular story structures, check out this Reedsy Blog article.

I feel the shape and labeling of the four-act ‘W plot’ structure resonates most closely with the story I’m revising.

While researching the ‘W plot’ structure, I learned about its storyboarding  basis and realized that approach would create a more focused plot, shortening my revision and restructuring process.

The light bulb switched on. I plot my stories but only look at plot structure templates while I’m revising the draft. Authors who plot their stories using pre-defined plotting templates benefit from built-in story structures.