A 5-Part Story Structure For Beginners


One of the first things we are taught in the 1st grade is how to write a good story. It makes sense because our lives are made up of stories. Each of us has a unique tale. Every day is a story with a plot, characters, and a beginning, a middle, and an end. So, why not tell a good story with a great structure?

Many would support the idea that a good story ought to have these three main parts. Those who agree are professional writers, movie directors, and professors. Without these three fundamental divisions, any given story would appear jumbled. It causes the reader to give up on engaging with the author’s thoughts.

1. Introduction

The beginning of a story is where the author introduces the five important questions: WHO, WHAT, WHY, WHEN and WHERE. They familiarise the reader with the characters, the plot, and the time zone. They give a general idea of what the reader has to expect from the narrative.

In this first part, also called the exposition, the author creates a bond with the main character. It is possible to reveal the character’s aim and ensure a ‘hook’. That means to provide an incentive and a reason for the reader to continue pursuing the story.

2. Doorway No. 1

Good narrative structures also contain a delicate shift, or, as some call it a ‘doorway’. It is the section where the author puts the character into a complicated situation and forces him or her into an irreversible circumstance. This is the part of the story where the action starts to brew. The main character may end up in a difficult position and he or she develops the story goal here. This is the best time to hook the reader into your plot.

3. Middle

The first part (or introduction) serves as a section where everything is set up. The second part of the story is where the story line develops and becomes complicated. We call it the “middle”. More intricate layers of the characters become clear. Secret intentions and relationships start to surface. Needless to say, as conflict ensues, tension adds to the story.

It is a good trick to keep the reader on edge. The author also has the option to weave in subplots to add to the main plot. The middle is the part where the story starts to move towards the climax. That’s the segment of a narrative, also referred to as the development, that gives the reader the sense of the inevitable conclusion.

4. Doorway No.2

As the level of conflict builds throughout the story, doorway No.2 opens. The writer can make use of it to thrust the main character into a final conflict. Let’s call it the pinnacle of the narrative. This climactic moment is where a major blow or crisis usually occurs, which later sets up a potential final solution.

5. End

The end or the denouement is the climax of the story. This is the part where everything comes together and starts making sense – in case it didn’t make sense before. This is the section where the author writes about the final confrontation and the inevitable aftermath.

A good story should not have any loose ends. The denouement is the perfect place to answer all unanswered questions. Respond to inquiries that may have appeared throughout the story.

The ending can also include poetic justice or an element of sacrifice. It depends on the theme and subject matter the author chooses to write about. This elevates the already scandalous atmosphere that reader has been sucked into.

We have an innate desire for happy endings. Often times, writers choose to provide the readers with what they know the public will generally like. Yet, the story can also end on a negative or ambiguous note. This in turn leaves the reader wondering and perhaps feeling a bit dazed.

It doesn’t matter what type of story you choose to write. The most important thing to remember is to start at the beginning, continue in the middle, and finish at the end. And like a good recipe, every story should contain a little bit of spice, whether it’s love and romance, or revenge and power.

 by Laura Carter. Laura is a former educator who is now an academic writing and higher education blogger. Laura’s passion is great fiction and short story writing. Follow her on Twitter.

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  1. Proetic

    Wow…This will help me with my writing but I must say I kinda used some of the tips in my other stories,its great to see that I am heading into the right direction

  2. Anonymous

    Thank you for the look into the structure I always wonder am I totally a

    mess in my writing or am I getting it . Good news I have it down better

    than I thought yay!! I really appreciated it and thank you for taking the

    time I will keep this and use it I am sure a hundred times 🙂

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