Helpful guides to story structure

I’ve been groping around for a few brilliant articles on story structure. Narrative structure is something writers either understand intuitively or find utterly opaque. I’d like to be able to point to some excellent primers when I need to, but they’re not that easy to find online.

If a writer has a blind spot when it comes to structuring a narrative, then recommending the best books on the topic isn’t a good idea. Better to suggest a few simple concepts and hope to inspire further investigation.

Here are a few places to start:

Stuart Dybek’s “Sunday at the Zoo”: A Class in Narrative Structure
by Lee Martin

Why Story Structure Matters, Even If You Don’t Want It To
by Christopher Riley

The Story Spine
by Blake Snyder (author of my favorite book on story structure)

Story Theory
by James Dai

Have you found a clear and concise summary of story structure? Do share.

By the way, Rick Cook offers a tidy explanation of the difference between plot and structure.

If you’re feeling up to the challenge of structuring a plot, Tin House is currently running Plotto: The Master Contest of All Plots. Weekly winners receive a copy of Plotto: The Master Book of All Plots, William Wallace Cook’s guidebook.

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