How To Structure A Good Story

A clear text requires a building plan, just as you wouldn't build a house without one. So before you start typing furiously, it's a good idea to plan out the structure of your story. What should go where and why? In four steps, we show you how to determine a good structure for your text.

Do you know which message you want to send to which audience? After that, you can begin working on your text. Instead of starting at the beginning of your document and writing to the end, we recommend that you always determine your structure first. So please be patient!

Good structure: think first, then write.

Create a blueprint for your text. Consider the order in which you want to present the information, what goes in which paragraph, and how you will begin and end your text. That's good for you because it gives you something to focus on while writing. But, even better, your readers are presented with a well-crafted story.

Because readers are slackers. True story. They would instead be led through your story by the hand, especially if your text is lengthy or deals with a complex topic. They drop out if they have to look for the common thread on their own. So get a hold of them!

You can create a solid building plan for your story by following these four steps:

1. The head-hull-tail structure

Your story must have a beginning, middle, and end. This is also known as the head-body-tail structure. First, with the headline and accompanying intro, you pique your readers' interest and show them what to expect in your story. Next, most of your text is taken up by the body of your story. Then, answer your main question in one or more paragraphs in this section. Finally, you conclude with the tail: the conclusion of your story. In this section, you reflect on what your readers have learned thus far.

Tip: Before you start writing, think of a working title and provisional intro (you can, of course, change it later!), what the core of your story will be, and how you will conclude that story. This immediately gives your story structure, which helps enormously in elaborating it.

2. Divide your text into paragraphs

The paragraphs are the most important building blocks of your text: a group of sentences that tell one part of your story. You can clearly show the structure of your text by organizing your paragraphs well. But how do you do it: properly organize your paragraph? Follow these pointers:

  • The most important rule for writing a well-structured text is to limit yourself to one topic per paragraph. This makes it easier for your readers to follow your story. Are you proceeding with your reasoning? Then, begin a new paragraph.
  • Make a key sentence for each paragraph. That sentence summarizes an entire paragraph. That sentence is usually found at the start of a paragraph. Use the remaining sentences of that paragraph to expand on your main point.
  • Make paragraphs no more than three to ten sentences long!

Tip: Do you understand the entire story if you only read the first lines of each paragraph in order? Then you've chosen good core sentences! Isn't there a true story? Check again to see if each paragraph has a good core sentence and is at the beginning of the paragraph.

3. Use signal words

Use signal and connecting words to emphasize structure and indicate connections between elements in your text. This draws the reader's attention to a specific connection.

For example, you can indicate a cause or reason with 'therefore,' 'because of this,' or 'because.' When you use the words 'but,' 'however,' or 'yet,' your reader understands that you are describing a contradiction. You indicate a list with 'first of all,' 'then,' and 'also,' and time order with 'after,' 'during,' and 'later.' Followings are a conclusion and following 'because' is an argument.

4. Show structure with formatting

You can make the structure of a story clear not only through the content but also through the layout of the text. Make the title and introduction of a text, for example, bold to make them stand out. You also use blank lines and bold subheadings between paragraphs to indicate what the following paragraph is about. Another helpful example: do you include a lengthy summary in your text? Use bullet points instead of putting everything together. Very clear for your readers!

Here are resources I recommend to get more in-depth knowledge

Storytelling 101 teaches you how to write compelling stories worthy of commercial success. This is best for screenwriters, novelists, filmmakers, videogame writers and storytellers.

Children’s Books 101 teaches you how to write stories that children will love. This is best for aspiring children’s book authors and storytellers.

Owl AI is the revolutionary AI-powered content production platform that helps storytellers, writers, and bloggers of all subject matter easily create highly-polished content.

Success, Money & Mindset Subliminal is a self-hypnosis recording that we recommend to new writers to help with focus, concentration, creativity, and motivation.

Shadow Work Journal: 240 Daily Prompts contains inner work exercises related to relationships, anger, anxiety, self-love, healing trauma, abandonment issues, depression, forgiveness, etc.

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