The most crucial aspect of writing a story is structuring it.  However, a writer cannot jump straight into this without comprehending the narrative structure and what it entails.  The writer must consider the types of narrative structure, the character arc, the point of view and the perspectives before structuring the story.  There is a fixed template to follow when structuring the story.

In this post, I discuss the following points: 

1.  What entails a narrative structure?

1.1.  The five types of narrative structure.
1.2 Four factors to consider before creating a story structure.

2.  How to structure a story. 
2.1 Three tips to build/organise the story structure.

1.  What entails the narrative structure?

A narrative structure is also known as a story structure, a plot line, or a storyline.  It entails different parts a writer must grasp to organise the story structure.

1.1.What are the five types of narrative structure?

Over time, writers have developed different techniques for framing narratives or sequencing the events in a story, and they have proven helpful for other writers to follow.  Here are the five most popular methods they have used.

1.1.1.  Linear plot structure.

Events follow chronologically in any form of storytelling, including a novel or a short story that follows a linear plot structure.  This does not mean a character cannot recall her past; flashbacking is a technique used for that.  Most books, plays, TV shows and films use this structure.   Dan Brown and Margaret Atwood are among the writers who use this technique greatly in their writings.

1.1.2.  Non-linear plot structure.

Here, plot events are introduced outside their chronological sequence.  For example, the first scene of a book in a non-chronological plot structure might be the last event that happens chronologically.  It may initially sound confusing to readers, but that would be over in the previous scene, where the plot threads are tied together.  

Writers like Joyce Carol Oats and William Faulkner are acclaimed authors who follow non-linear plot structures.  Kurt Vonnegut's famous Slaughterhouse-Five is a famous story that follows this structure.  I have yet to read any of those authors to comment on their chosen plot structure.  Those who have read them will share their opinions in the comments. 

1.1.3.  Parallel plot structure

In this, multiple plotlines emerge concurrently, intersecting one another as in Charle's Dicken's A Tale of Two Cities or not as in Nathaniel Rich's The Mayor's Tongue. 

1.1.4. Cicrulat plot structure.

In this structure, the story ends where it begins.  Events in the story lead back to the event, scene, or imagery the story started with.  Examples are Cynthia Rylant's Lost Night Moon, Stone Steinbeck's Of Mice and Men, and S. E. Hinton's Outsiders.

1.1.5.  Interactive plot structure.

In this case, the story adjusts to the whims of the readers.

1.2 Four factors to consider when creating the story structure.

There are four questions a writer generally asks and finds answers to before they settle on a plot structure.  

They are:

1.2.1.  What is the protagonist's character arc?

Consider what changes you want your protagonist to undergo and what events in the series make that change possible.  Readers care foremost about character development, so this element needs to be strong before you decide how your story will be told.

1.2.2.  The point of view.

Is the narrative in the first, second, or third person?  Third-person omniscience gives authors more flexibility for circular, parallel, and non-linear narrative structures, whereas a first-person narrative works well with linear structures.

1.2.3.  What are the major events in the story?

Using the story structure imagery shown here, you can decide the major events in the story.  Decide what the starting point is, the inciting incident, the rising action, the climax, the falling action, and the final resolution. 

Each of these parts of the narrative acts as a touch points that anchor your story.

1.2.4.  How many perspectives are featured?

Sometimes, authors use multiple points of view in their stories to bring out different characters' perspectives.  Events happening in the story through the eyes of different characters present a myriad tapestry of them to engage the readers. 

William Falknar has used this in his novel As I Lay Dying, which follows a non-linear structure.  I haven't read that.  I have recently read two novels, The Surgeon by Leslie Wolfe and The Daughters of Madurai by Rajasree Variyar; in both, the authors use this type of narrative structure, which I found engaging.  

2.  How to structure a story?

2.1  Three tips to consider when you organise your story structure.

Once you have considered answers to the above questions about the type of narrative structure, the character arc, the event series, subplots, etc., you can look at how to build the narrative structure or the story structure following a fixed template.

2.1.1.  Fixed story template.

There are different ways to organise your narrative structure.  The most popular is the three-act structure.  I have found the following most expressive template of a three-act structure.   

This diagram is taken from the above link.

This diagram shows the steps in a three-act structure.  The same is shown in the steps below.

  • Act 1: the setup
  • Exposition
  • Inciting incident 
  • Plot point 1

  • Act 2: Confrontation.
  • Rising Action
  • Midpoint
  • Plot Point 2
  • Act 3: Resolution.
  • Pre-climax
  • Climax
  • Denouement

A plot point is different from a plot.  Plot points are key moments that relate to the protagonist and the actions they take in their journey.  A plot, on the other hand, is a series of events that constitute the story following the laws of cause and effect

2.1.2.  Map our character information.

Map out what you want your readers to know about your protagonist/ characters.

  • Map out their peculiar traits
  • Their backstories.

2.1.3.  Pay attention to loose ends.

You must avoid leaving a trail of dangling narrative threads as you proceed with your story.  If you raise a question in readers' minds, make sure you answer it.

Your readers may not like your story, but you should give them the impression that you have a clear grip on the characters you introduce in your story and the plotlines you create. 

To read more on this, visit here.


I consider understanding the narrative structure and organising the story structure to be the most significant parts of writing a story.  I have spent hours reading the topics and summarising them in this form.  I hope you enjoy reading it.

This post is part of the Bookish League Blog hop hosted by Bohemian Bibliophile.