Posted by: Kathy Temean | July 11, 2009

Character Arc and Story Structure

Character Arc and Story Structure

  • Beginning – you introduce the reader to the setting, the characters and the conflict. Plot Point 1 is the situation that drives the main character from their “normal” life towards a different conflicting situation that the story is about. 
  • Great stories often begin at Plot Point 1, throwing the main character right into the action, but the author never really leaves out the beginning. They fill it in with back story along the way.
  • Middle – the story develops through a series of complications and obstacles, each leading to a mini crisis. Each of these crises are temporarily resolved, but the story leads inevitably to an ultimate crisis—the Climax. As the story develops, there is a rise and fall of tension with each crisis, but an overall rising tension as we approach the Climax. The resolution of the Climax is Plot Point 2.
  • End – the Climax and loose ends of the story are resolved during the Denouement. Tension rapidly dissipates.  That’s because it is almost impossible to sustain a reader’s interest after the climax, so finish your story and get out.


Peder Hill has a lot of information about writing a novel on his website and blog.  I think you might want to check him out.


  1. We’ve been talking about this at my blog, which is on writing fantasy. I’m thinking that it depends on the genre, how you begin. Fantasy lends itself to more description and place setting in the beginning over, say, comtemporary, suspense or thrillers.

    When I teach workshops or meet with beginning autors, I always ask them, “what does the story require?” I think that’s where we need to start, but at the same time, we DO want to hook the reader.

    It’s a delicate balance.


  2. Thanks so much for this. I’m doing something similar, but had no resources or examples. Thanks!


  3. […] Character Arc and Story Structure […]


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