Story Structure Architect: A Writer's Guide to Building Dramatic Situations and Compelling Characters
ISBN: 9781582973258

As the title says, this is a guide for writers on how to create dramatic situations and believable and compelling characters.

I thought it’s also a good reference guide for media studies students, who may need to analyse/ critique plots and scripts.

I thought the various “scaffold” provides a way to plan the overall story. Writers often face the problem of not knowing how to continue (or begin, or end). Though this guide was not meant to be the prescriptive text, I thought it would help get past writer’s block.

The book comes in four main parts:
Part 1 – on drafting a plan
Part 2 – on building the story structure
Part 3 – on adding stories (this is the bulk of the book, explaining the “55 dramatic situations”)
Part 4 – on finishing touches (talks about research and how it applies to writing; famous authors say their secret to success is research; book poses a series of questions for consideration, to prompt for areas for further research).

P28. The traditional story structure has a clear beginning/ setup (Act I), middle/ development (Act II), and end/ climax & resolve (Act III). There are usually turning points at the end of acts I and II.

Structures include: The roller coaster ride, the Replay, Fate, the Parallel, Romance, the Journey, metafiction, the slice of life.

Example, the Melodrama elements has: in the traditional Act I, the hook, mood/ tone, villain, main characters, turning point. New elements are: conflict comes between characters, the villain could be one of the main character. The guide also poses questions for the writer, like “how does the character rub the villain the wrong way?”, “will you add betrayal to the turning point?”

The 55 dramatic situations (for creating believable characters as well) include: “Vengeance for a crime and Rehabilitation”, “Revolt and Support”, “Adultery and Fidelity”, “self-sacrifice and self-preservation”.

Example: in the “enigma and invention” situations involving a Seeker and Interrogator, the questions posed are “what is the main cause for the seeker to approach the Interrogator?”, “how do the seeker and Interrogator meet?”