Goodreads Reading Challenge 2023

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A Guide to Planning Your Narrative Using the Classic Story Structure with Questions

The classic story structure typically involves three acts: the Setup, the Confrontation, and the Resolution. You can incorporate key narrative elements within these acts to create a compelling story. Here's a guide with questions to help you plan each part of your narrative.


Act 1: The Setup

  1. Introduction to the Main Character
    • Who is your main character?
    • What is their background, personality, and current situation?
    • What are their goals, dreams, or desires?
  2. Introduction to the Setting
    • Where and when does the story take place?
    • How does the setting influence the characters and events?
  3. Establishing the Normal Routine
    • What does your main character's everyday life look like?
    • What challenges, conflicts, or dissatisfaction do they face in their routine?
  4. Inciting Incident
    • What event or circumstance disrupts your main character's normal routine?
    • How does this incident compel them to take action or make a change?
  5. Main Character's Reaction
    • How does your main character initially respond to the inciting incident?
    • What emotions, doubts, or fears arise?


Act 2: The Confrontation

  1. Main Goal and Motivation
    • What is your main character's specific goal or objective now?
    • Why is achieving this goal important to them?
  2. Rising Tension and Obstacles
    • What challenges, conflicts, or obstacles does your main character encounter on their journey?
    • How do these obstacles escalate and build tension?
  3. Plot Development and Complications
    • How does your main character's understanding of the situation deepen?
    • Are there any unexpected twists or revelations that complicate their path?
  4. Character Growth and Relationships
    • How does your main character evolve throughout the story?
    • How do their relationships with other characters evolve?
  5. Midpoint and Climax Preparation
    • What is the midpoint of your story where a significant shift occurs?
    • How are the stakes raised, pushing the story towards the climax?


Act 3: The Resolution

  1. Climax
    • What is the highest point of tension or conflict in the story?
    • How does your main character confront the central problem or antagonist?
  2. Character Transformation
    • How does your main character's growth culminate in this final showdown?
    • What lessons have they learned or insights gained?
  3. Falling Action
    • How do events begin to wind down after the climax?
    • Are there any loose ends to tie up or lingering conflicts to address?
  4. Resolution and New Normal
    • How does your main character's life change due to the events?
    • What does their new normal look like?
  5. Final Thoughts or Reflections
    • Is there a message, theme, or takeaway you want to convey?
    • How can you leave the reader with a sense of closure or contemplation?

By answering these questions and incorporating the resulting elements into your narrative, you can create a well-structured and engaging story that follows the classic story arc. Remember that while this structure provides a solid foundation, there's room for creativity and variation to make your story uniquely yours.

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