Below is a list of various common story structures to help you to design, map out and develop your stories.
Beginning, Problem, Climax, End.
The most traditional story structure. First, present your characters and setting, and then introduce a problem which gets more and more intense until, when all hope seems lost, you surprise your reader with a resolution.
Problem, Problem, Solution.
So, you have a relatively positive beginning…your characters are happy, nothing seems to be going wrong…and then, suddenly, there’s a series of problems…it just keeps getting worse with no glimmer of hope until, FINALLY, everything is resolved.
Exactly the same as the structure above, but this story just gets more and more dramatic until the damage is irreversible and no solution can be found. A never-ending tragedy, probably resulting in extreme depression or even death…sounds jolly, right?
Positive, Positive, Happy Ending.
Many writers are adamant on the need for conflict and tension, but what’s so wrong about a story that’s happy all the way through?
The Happy Caterpillar doesn’t seem to mind his happy life, munching away, and neither do its readers. Stories — particularly children’s stories, it seems — don’t always have to be so doom and gloom; life can be enough like that already! So, create some positive escapism for your readers!
Everything’s Normal…Wait! What Just Happened?!
Your readers are following your story along with no problem –– a happy story about a dishwasher on the way to securing his dream career in computer science –– when the plot drastically changes out of nowhere! There’s a huge zombie apocalypse, and aliens start attacking the globe! Maybe even the main characters are completely changed! Maybe you see things from the zombies' perspective!
Your character keeps living the same day over and over again and must find a way to break the cycle…or who’s to say they want to?! Maybe it’s a great day to relive! Or maybe they start out wanting to relive the day on repeat –– as its the day they last saw their dying father –– but discover towards the end of the story that it’s better for them to simply let go.
Comment below if you used any of the story structures listed above, or with any of your own!
See Also: 10 Ways to Begin a Story and 10 Ways to End a Story.