10-Part Story Structure

I wrote earlier about how I tried to write a list of 10 items every day about different ideas during 2021. For my lists of 10, I assigned myself topics at the beginning of each week. Over the course of each day I wrote items related to the topic, until I reached 10 items or bedtime.

I quickly brainstormed the follow 10 plot points that should be covered in stories. While these probably need refinement, I decided to include this list with my recurring example of Peter Rabbit.

Original list in Google Keep

10-Point Story Structure

  1. Regular reality – social, emotion, work. What is the protagonist doing when the story begins?
  2. Encounter with the enemy. The introduction to the antagonist, including the initial scope of their power and influence.
  3. Receiving advice. This is the equivalent of “meeting with the mentor” in the classic hero’s journey structure.
  4. Taking the trail. This is the gateway from the first act (in traditional 3-act structure) into the second. Something must occur that pushes the protagonist through the gateway and away from the regular reality. At this time, the protagonist encounters other like-minded characters. Some may be allies, who will help later on, but others may distract from the protagonist’s goals and serve as setbacks.
  5. Exposure to the enemy. Once in unfamiliar territory, the protagonist encounters the enemy again, but the enemy has grown in strength, or at least demonstrates more power than in the initial encounter.
  6. Situational setbacks. As a result of continued exposure, the protagonist encounters more problems, each one leading to a more difficult situation. Differences between allies and pseudo allies are revealed.
  7. Renewed resolve. This is a critical element, because the protagonist must make the commitment to persevere through whatever challenges he/she encounters.
  8. Preparation for the end. As a result of renewed resolve, the protagonist now prepares to vanquish the antagonist. This includes forming alliances with others who also seek victory over the antagonist.
  9. Final struggle with the enemy. This is the epic final battle in which many supports – allies – disappear, and a one-to-one encounter between the protagonist and antagonist occur. Despite another round of setbacks, victory is achieved, and the antagonist is defeated.
  10. Renewed reality – social, emotional, work. Having defeated the antagonist, the protagonist enters a new reality where he/she experiences new friendships, feelings, and activities.

Peter Rabbit

  1. Regular reality. Peter Rabbit live with his mother and siblings.
  2. Encounter with the enemy. His father was killed in Mr. MacGregor’s garden.
  3. Receiving advice. Mrs. Rabbit admonished her children not to play in the garden.
  4. Taking the trail. As soon as his mother left for shopping, Peter entered Mr. MacGregor’s garden.
  5. Exposure to the enemy. Mr. MacGregor saw Peter.
  6. Situational setbacks. Mr. MacGregor tried to snare him and subsequently chased him into a potting shed. Peter lost his clothes along the way.
  7. Renewed resolve. Peter escaped out a window of the shed.
  8. Preparation for the end. Peter climbed onto a wheelbarrow and saw the entrance to the garden.
  9. Final struggle with the enemy. He ran passed Mr. MacGregor and escaped from the garden.
  10. Renewed reality. He arrived at home, but was sick and lost all of his clothes.

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