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Story Structure: What’s the Purpose…for Readers?

Metal cans connected with string with text: What Does Our Story Structure Say to Readers?

Ever wonder how many writing “rules” have a reason beyond “because I said so”? Story structure exists not just because it makes our story stronger, but also because the story beats help communicate with readers–and understanding how can help us write and revise our story.

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March 9, 2017

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Story Structure: What Should We Do for Trilogies?

Three blue chairs against a wall with text: Making Trilogies Work

If we’ve thought of writing a trilogy, we might have struggled with questions about how we should structure our stories over three books. Or how we should break up the plot and character arcs. Today, let’s try to answer those questions!

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February 14, 2017

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Using Ebooks to Understand Story Structure

Roof structure with text: Ebooks: a Shortcut to Story Structure

If we’ve ever had a friend ramble or go off on tangents when describing a movie, we understand how story structure can help make stories more enjoyable. In other words, good story structure is an important element of good storytelling. Here’s how we can learn to analyze the structure of stories…

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February 11, 2016

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What Are Our Readers’ “Must Click” Topics?

Fishing lure with text: What Topics Lure Readers?

We’ve probably all come across “click bait” headlines that create a compulsion to click, but another click-worthy aspect of any content is simply the topic itself. For blog posts or books, learning what topics appeal to our readers can help us develop content.

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December 8, 2015

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Developing Our Story: From Beat Sheet to Scene List

Rebar steel ready for construction with text: Building a Scene List for Our Story

My regular readers know that I’m a pantser, but I’m naturally a planner/plotter in the rest of my life. So when a reader asked me how to build a scene list from a beat sheet, I didn’t shudder and scream in horror. Instead for my plotter-loving friends and readers, I figured I’d put together a real answer.

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October 8, 2015

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Need Help Understanding Story Structure?

View up the center of high-tension electrical tower with text: Need Help Understanding Story Structure?

Some authors are able to write coherent stories while drafting. Others put together words willy-nilly and end up with a story that doesn’t hold together. And still others plot but are just writing their chaos down in advance. For all, a strong sense of story structure would help them during planning, drafting, and/or revisions.

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September 1, 2015

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Romance Writers: New Scrivener Template!

Black and white image of couple walking in Paris with text: Isn't It Romantic...with Scrivener

One of my most popular posts is for my Romance Beat Sheet, but one of my readers asked if I could create a Scrivener template to go along with the Romance Beat Sheet. Yes! If you’re a romance author and use Scrivener for drafting your stories, today’s post is for you.

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June 11, 2015

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Story Climax: Forcing Characters to Move Forward

One arrow pointed in an opposite direction with text: How to Make Our Characters Move Forward

Whatever happens in the Climax is often the reason we decided to write the story back when it was just a twinkle in our muse’s eye. But just before the beat of the Climax, our character experienced the Black Moment/Crisis, where they gave up. How do we get them to recommit to the story goals?

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April 30, 2015

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Ask Jami: Can We Use Beat Sheets with Multiple POVs?

Shelves of plaster heads with text: Using One Beat Sheet for Multiple Characters

Stories with multiple major characters—with their own point-of-view (POV) scenes—can make story structure complicated. Do we have to make beat sheets for each character? As a romance author, I write with multiple POVs all the time, so let’s see if we can figure out how to make beat sheets work in those situations.

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April 7, 2015

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Using Examples to Learn Beat Sheets

Chalkboard with text: Learning Beat Sheets by Example

One technique for drafting or editing our stories into shape is using beat sheets, but it can be tricky to understand how to use them. Here’s a round-up beat sheet and story structure resources that might help us understand beat sheets.

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March 17, 2015

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