Plotting – A walkthrough of 7-point story structure

Protip: “Start where your Resolution is and then make sure that the Hook has the character in almost exactly the opposite position.”

Today, I checked out the Writing Excuses podcast. I really love that they are all 15-minutes long!

I listened to Episode 7-41 on 7-Point Story Structure. This is a screenplay technique that works extremely well for action/adventure, romance, and many other genres.

Dan Wells, who is famous for this writing approach on YouTube, gave Harry Pottery examples for the following 7 steps:

  • Hook – who people are what their starting stage is
  • Plot Turn I – the call to adventure
  • Pinch I – Put pressure on char to force them into action (i.e., forcing to use skills to make things happen)
  • Midpoint – Char moves from reaction to action (sick of running, going to face the problem)
  • Pinch II – Really put the pressure on char – as dire as possible (loss of mentor)
  • Plot Turn II – Get last info they need. Figure out puzzle. Realize the weak point that allows everything to wrap up.
  • Resolution – They do it. They win.

But stories have so many more plot twists than that! How can this possibly work?

Dan says this doesn’t restrict you to having only 7 scenes. This approach has you think of your work as 7 key moments that move from Hook to Resolution. And within each of those, you can have a mini 7-point loop as well.

Dan suggests starting from the Resolution. You want to look back and make sure that the Hook has the character in almost exactly the opposite position.

They have to move all the way from one end of the spectrum to the other to accomplish their goal.  When writing, make sure your character moves believably from one point to the next.

If you want to dive deep into this, check out Dan’s Youtube video series. He explains this process in 5 videos over an hour (I think it was part of a workshop or talk).

Overall, I really loved how quick and clear the hosts were. The podcast was informative. I will definitely be listening to Writing Excuses again.

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