novel with me

Novel With Me- Three ways to structure your novel

Hello, and welcome to Novel With Me. The series which takes you on a writing journey from start, to finish.

Today I will be talking about three methods to help you structure your novel:

Dan Harmon’s story cricle

The Hero’s Journey

K.M Weiland’s 3 act method.

For the corresponding video, click here

Dan Harmon’s story circle:

  1. You– Your protagonist and settings are introduced
  2. Need– Your protagonist’s goals are explained
  3. Go -Your protagonist enters the new world
  4. Search -Your protagonist endures trials and tribulations
  5. Find– Your protagonist finds the key to their goal, but it isn’t what they expect
  6. Take– Your protagonist pushes to take what they want. There are consequences
  7. Return– Your protagonist returns to the beginning, with a new understanding and a new need.
  8. Change– The final showdown between your protagonist and antagonist.

The Hero’s Journey:

  1. Ordinary world– We are introduced to the protagonist
  2. Call to adventure– Protagonist is confronted with the challenge.
  3. Refusal of call– Protagonist initially refuses the challenge.
  4. Meeting the mentor– Don’t know what else I can say about that.
  5. Crossing the first threshold -This is where the Protagonist can no longer back out of the challenge.
  6. Tests, allies, enemies– Your protagonist meets their allies, learns about their enemy and gets into trouble. A lot.
  7. Approach to the inmost cave– Protagonist is getting closer to the core of the conflict.
  8. Ordeal– Things just went terribly wrong.
  9. Reward– The light at the end of the tunnel. There is success, and your protagonist achieves a goal.
  10. The road back– Your success has consequences.
  11. Resurrection – This is it. Has your protagonist got what it takes? Have they learned and experienced enough to become triumphant?
  12. Return with the elixir – It’s home time. You achieved your goal, and you’re a different person because of it.

Three act method:

Act 1-

Hook: That nugget of information or intrigue to interest your reader.

Set-up: Introduce your protagonist and their setting. Their goals and motivations.

Inciting event: The call to adventure. The moment your protagonist is introduced to the new world

Build-up: Tension rises. Plot points are moved into place. Your protagonist learns more about their new world.

1st Plot Point: The bridge between Act 1 and 2. This is where your protagonist gets pulled into the main conflict of the novel.

Act 2-

Reaction- The protagonist react to the first plot point, and the obstacles the antagonist throws their way.

1st pinch point: This serves as a reminder of your antagonist’s power. Where new clues are discovered.

Realization- The protagonist becomes more understanding of the situation and reacts accordingly.

Midpoint- The protagonist realizes the truth about the conflict between them and the antagonist.

Action- The protagonist starts being proactive against the antagonist.

2nd Pinch point- A situation which reminds the protagonist of what exactly they’re fighting for

Renewed push- The protagonist continues their attack on the antagonist, and appears victorious.

Act 3-

3rd Plot point- This is a dark moment. A consequence to the victory they just achieved.

Recovery- The protagonist questions everything- the situation, what they’ve learned, their abilities.

Climax begins- This is where the protagonist and the antagonist have no choice but to face each other

Confrontation- This is the duel to the death. The final showdown. There must be a victor.

Climactic moment- Your protagonist wins, their goal is achieved.

Resolution- The plot is resolved, the tension is eased

Notice any similarities between these three methods? They all have certain beats they hit- some go into more detail, but at their core, they’re the same. It’s true that every story at its foundation can be broken down into any one of these methods. It’s how you build on that foundation which makes your story different then everyone else’s.

Good thoughts and happy writing!


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