Seven Point Story Structure with Dan Wells

I was listening to Writing Excuses the other day and Dan Wells (Partials, John Cleaver Books) did a great break down of his take on the Seven Point Story Structure. With NaNoWriMo coming up quickly, I thought I’d share that info here.

He’s also got a presentation of the Seven Point Structure on YouTube, so I’m linking to those videos as well. ( Scroll down for the videos.) They are well worth watching, especially if you are struggling to come up with a plot.

He runs downs the plots of many books and movies as examples including Harry Potter, Pride & Prejudice and The Matrix. I’ve also worked up a set of worksheets based on this structure (because after you know it, it is fun to find it in all of your favorite show and books.)

I’ll do a quick summary , give you some worksheets and a Scrivener Template* and you can watch the videos. It’s an awesome way to kick of NaNoWriMo with a strong start. (And increase the chances you’ll have something that you can eventually publish.)

*Please Note: The Scrivener Template must be imported. You cannot just double click on the file and have it open. If you don’t have Scrivener or want step by step instructions for using it, please download the free Author Toolkit.

Quick Notes

Here are a few quick notes on the presentation, so that you can get  jump on the information. The worksheet has a cover sheet that includes these notes:

The Hook

This is where your characters start from. You set up your character’s world and set their stakes (what they have to lose) in this part.

Plot Turn 1

This is the event that sets your story in motion.  It moves you from the beginning to the Midpoint. You character’s world changes here.

Pinch 1

Pinches are where you put pressure on your hero from your antagonist to force your hero into action.

Midpoint

The midpoint takes your character from reaction to action. At the midpoint, your character determines that she must do something.  (This can take place over a series of scenes.)

Pinch 2

Pinch 2 is where your story takes the ultimate dive. Your hero is literally sitting in the jaws of defeat. Everything has fallen apart.

Plot Turn 2

This point moves the story from the Midpoint to the Resolution. Plot Turn 2 is where you character receives the final piece of information that he needs to make it to the resolution. (No new information can be introduced after this point.) You character finally understands he has the power to achieve the resolution.

Resolution

Your hero completes what he sets out to do.

 

Download the Worksheets

7 point story structure worksheet - Self Publishing Toolkit

How to use the Worksheets: The first page contains the definition of each point and three examples. The second page is blank. Since your story will likely have more than one thread, you can assign each thread to a column and see how they weave together to form your story.

Watch the Videos

This is a 5-part series and they are listed in order. It’s worth watching all of them to get the concepts completely drilled it into your head.

Comments

  1. I love this type of story structure since it allowed me to not only outline – which I despise – but also allowed me room to move and discovery write a little to the individual points.

    The hook is critical to the reader and if you want them to turn past the first page you need to present something to them that makes them want to. An editor is most likely going to be the first person to read your story and they don’t have time to read 40 pages into your story to find out what is going on. Place the hook early and catch yourself a reader.

    A Writer’s Journey

  2. I saw these videos by Dan Well last night and was just about to start making my own worksheets when I thought I’d Google it first and lo and behold here you are with it done already – and they look great, too. Thanks a bunch!

  3. Thanks for doing these templates. Like the person above, I was about to create my own, but found yours on Ixquick.

What do You think?