Have you read the two-stories e-book of P J Reece (Story Structure To Die For)? If not, do, it’s free to download but would be worth reading even if it cost money. It could have just confused me even more when I had finally put togehter the three and four part story structure in my head. It didn’t. It made it all clear, so let me share the wisdom I gained.
The classic, ancient dramatic structure of three acts. ‘A whole is what has a beginning and middle and end’, taught Aristotle and teach the Plot Whisperer and many others today. Everybody knows this from literature class, so let’s move on to the variants.
This is what I have learned from Larry Brooks. Two plot points which basically coincide with the separating points of the first, second and third parts of the classic structure plus a mid-point. Relatively easy to grasp. He has built his whole story structure model on these cardinal points, including character development and it is all fantastically logical, I love it. He says that the most important point in your story is the First Plot Point (at about 25% into the story), which I was happy to believe and then came someone who said it is not. It is in fact all about two stories, separated by what Larry calls the Second Plot Point, right after the lull before the end.
According to P J Reece the lull-before-the-end is THE separator of the TWO stories you are writing. That’s where the character gets the chance to become the hero. His belief system is challenged so that he has no choice but to give it up and adapt a new one or fail. He sees the big picture and makes a choice. His own choice that can raise him up from the ‘hole in the story’.
Examining this in practice it gets quite easy to really see this hole, which is really there in every good story. It also means that the starting point, which Larry also stresses, that you need to know when building your story, is the end. It is the very end, the choice made, too, but also the hole. The belief system and how it gets challenged. Because that’s what the story is about and you need to know when typing the very first word of your story where it is heading. It is heading towards the vacuum in the hole.
My own conclusion
Begin with the end, continue with the First Plot Point – where the real story begins – and build the rest on it. And then it doesn’t matter how many stories you write: two, three, four, or a hundred. The plot will follow the direction.