Friday, Sep 14, 2012

Friday Fix (Craft): Story Structure: Your Protagonist

In last Friday’s post, we discussed the First Plot Point which occurs at the end of the first of the four parts of your story. Today we’re going to explore Part Two which begins immediately after the First Plot Point that ends Part One.

While the purpose of Part One in your story is to set up your story, the purpose of Part Two is to present your protagonist’s reaction to the First Plot Point. We saw that at the First Plot Point, your protagonist’s opposition was defined. In Part Two, you will show how your protagonist begins her quest to respond to that opposition.

By the time you start Part Two, you will have established sympathy for your protagonist in the reader’s mind. For this reason, your reader will care about your protagonist’s quest to overcome her opposing force.

In Part Two, your protagonist will be unsure of how she is going to take down her opposition. In fact, your protagonist might even try to withdraw from the fight and return to the state in which she found herself before she encountered her opposition. But she discovers that she cannot go back and still remain true to herself.

At this point in your story, you don’t want your protagonist to be too successful in beating her opposition. You want your protagonist to be indecisive, worried, fearful even of her opposition. Even though your protagonist’s goal is to defeat her opposition, in Part Two she still doubts her ability to achieve that goal.

As you write Part Two, keep in mind that you must show your protagonist struggling to figure out exactly what to do to overcome her opposition. By the end of Part Two, your protagonist will have developed a pretty good idea of what she needs to do. Then, in Part Three, she will do it.

For more information on this topic, I encourage you to read STORY ENGINEERING by Larry Brooks.

Now it’s your turn. 🙂  Have you found that using these principles of story structure in your own stories has made a positive difference?


Source cited: For an outstanding resource on story structure, from which this blog post is adapted, I highly recommend Story Engineering by Larry Brooks. 

Photo Source: Microsoft Clipart.

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