Plot and structure are integral to story development, because they provide the bones upon which the story is built. Stories without a strong, coherent structure will tend to ramble, losing the reader. Poorly structured or plotted stories also often have trouble with pace, leaving the reader feeling breathless or confused if they move too quickly, or bored if they move too slowly.
This template sets out the most common structure, the Three-Act Structure, which is used extensively across literature and film. While not all stories are structured this way, the vast majority use it in some form. The template encourages students to think of their story in terms of this framework, and provides a means of outlining it prior to writing, which increases the chances of completion.
The template also provides a simple scene-mapping exercise to help identify plot elements, specifically events and points of tension or conflict in the story. Every scene should contain some sort of conflict, either internal or external, in order to drive the narrative forward. This exercise helps prevent ‘dead spaces’ developing in the story – scenes without narrative tension.
An example template detailing this technique’s use in the development of The Iron Line is also included.
This template may be modified or reproduced for educational purposes only. It is not to be resold or used for commercial purposes.