The Story Arc: A Guide To Structuring A Smooth Story

Great writing advice from Cristina R. Guarino.

The Sprint Shack

story arc When you hear the word “smooth,” chances are you don’t associate it with “structure.” Silk, free-flowing and shapeless, is smooth. Hard-angled buildings made of brick and stone are structured. But when it comes to a good story, a smooth, effortlessly-flowing plot that keeps the reader engaged relies entirely on—you guessed it!— structure.

Taylor wrote a wonderful post recently about breaking rules with your writing. She’s spot on, and while I agree that most (writing!) rules are meant to be broken, some are best followed—and one of those is following the structure of the story arc, or the structure for a convincing story. Much like character arcs, story arcs require a bit of planning. Pantsers beware!

There are two popular ways to look at the story arc: the Narrative Arc often discussed in literature (exposition, rising action, climax, falling action, resolution), and the eight-point story arc originally introduced by

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3 thoughts on “The Story Arc: A Guide To Structuring A Smooth Story

  1. I don’t really plan ahead a lot of the time when I’m writing- I’m very much the type of person, when it comes to writing, to just let the story flow and then work around what I have when I’m editing. I can finalise everything, tie up things that I didn’t otherwise and do all the extra needed bits later, but doing lots of planning ahead makes me a little nervous- I think I’d feel awfully blocked in! But I do really like this side of it, too, and I think it’s so interesting, learning how other writers work.

    1. I’m not much of a planner either, I’ll usually know my ending from the start though, and a few major scenes. Other than that I like to see where the story will take me. Thanks for dropping by 🙂

      1. I agree with both of you! I think a true-blue story arc doesn’t really take shape until you’re editing… unless you’re a really stringent outliner. I know for me, as I began noveling with NaNoWriMo, my writing habits are completely disorganized until the end!

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