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10.12.2012 14:41    Comments: 0    Categories: Structure  Writing Craft  Fiction Writing  Fiction Elements  Writing      Tags: h.t. milhorn  writing  genre  fiction  guide  craft  chart  

Structure Chart (From Chapter 9 of Writing Genre Fiction: A Guide to the Craft by H.T. Milhorn)


The following chart illustrates the main points of a novel as described in this chapter. When writing your novel, it may be helpful to create a similar chart and fill in the details.


  • No real rules, except don't make it too long. Many titles are just one word.
  • Four types (background, different point-of-views, past protagonist, future protagonist)
  • Prologue test
Initial Setup
  • Exposition
  • Hook
  • Main characters
  • Setting
Big Event
  • The situation that launches the story (protagonist is thrust into the action)
  • Involves conflict
  • Establishes the story goal
  • Establishes the story's direction
(Plots, Points, Reversals)
  • Tries to achieve his/her goal
  • Obstacles are introduced
  • Disasters occur
Crisis (Pinch)
  • A showdown becomes inevitable
  • Comes to realize that he/she must take a stand (there are only two choices)
  • Agonizes over which of the two courses of action to take
  • Makes his/her decision
  • Epiphany (revelation)
  • Sets out to do final battle (the climax)
Climax (Showdown)
  • The finest and biggest battle
  • Highest point of tension
  • Decides overall winner and loser
  • Demonstrates internal change
Resolution (Denouement)
  • Climax is over and story goal is answered
  • Winners and losers are known
  • Loose ends are wrapped up
  • Characters have gained new insights that reflect their growth
  • Theme is reinforced
  • Symbolic event
  • Seldom used
  • Often deals with futures of characters
  • Differs significantly from the main story in time or place or narrative style




Based on Schnelbach, Susan D. and Christopher Scott Wyatt, Plots and Stories, Tameri Guide for Writers, http://www.temaeri.com/write/plotnstory.html.

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