7 Steps to Add Structure to Your Fan Fiction Story
Your story is in your head, but it lacks structure. Here is your guide to make sure the story you invented can be understood and enjoyed by others in a story-friendly format.
Step 1: Set a Theme
The theme of your story can often times be described as answering a single question, “why?” Everyone always wants to know why you are doing anything you do, especially if they are dedicating time to follow it. A story is no different, setting a clear and powerful “why” is crucial to getting the attention and interest of your audience.
The theme will be the glue that ties together everything else of your story. Your characters, your story arc, everything will tie back to the question of “why” this story exists. In other words, you need to answer the question "what are you trying to say with this story?”
Do you believe that love is the most powerful force in the world? Do you think that people are who they are, and never change? Then your story is your chance to argue for your belief and your perspective on this world. Make sure you argue clearly, and forcefully with an effective and consistent theme.
Step 2: Introduce the Characters
Your characters are the core building blocks of your story. Their beginnings, journey, motivations, growth, personalities, and ultimately their success or failure will be the key aspects of your story.
Take special care that your characters will be interesting enough to carry the story, but relatable enough to connect with a common reader. In other words, if your story involves aliens and fantastical worlds, you might want a main character as a regular person who requires an education into their world. In this way, their education becomes the reader’s education.
Step 3: Paint a Picture (Establish a Setting)
Your setting will set the stage (quite literally) for the action of your story. A good setting is often times described as an additional character, as it can effect the style, flow, and vibe of a story much more so than most characters can.
Make sure your setting “makes sense” as well. If you are writing a comedy, your setting must be conducive to a humorous story. Drama, tragedy, etc. also need a strong setting to function well.
Step 4: Summarize the Pilot and Point of Your Story
What are the key elements of your story? People will need to know two things right away, what happens and why are these events important?
Your plot will need to be easily understood, but just from a story standpoint by also a "why should I care" perspective. People will want to want to hear your story, this is accomplished by having a description that is both clear and exciting.
Got your facts and key story elements down? Good, now:
Step 5: Tie Your Story Elements Into a Plot
A plot is the summarization of all your important key story elements. A plot (or story) usually follows in a single format: the "Three-act structure"
explain your characters, the world they live in, and what will make up the conflict they will face in your second act. Don’t forget to detail the relationships and the world they live in, and why both are important for the story. Further on in the first act, the main character (or what is often called the protagonist), will try and solve the first conflict, often times leading to another high point in the action called a "turning point”.
At this point protagonist’s world will never be the same, and the journey they are starting on based on the actions of the first act will set up a masterful question that will need to be answered in final stages of the story.
The question that needs to be answered at the end of the story will be directly tied to what happened to them in the first act. If you fail to tie these two things together, the story will feel random and unconnected.
this is where the action starts to get intense! Your protagonist will be front and center here, trying to answer the question that was posed to them in the first act.
Generally, there isn’t a direct or easy solution to this question (because that would make for a boring story). This is also where the growth of the protagonist occurs. They will often need to acquire new skills, or knowledge, in order to solve the problem that is placed in front of them. Without growing, they are unable and unequipped to handle the challenge.
Many times, your protagonist doesn’t need to improve physically or outwardly, but within themselves with greater knowledge and awareness of who they are. There are several terms for this type of growth, such as character development or also referred to as a character arc. Often, your protagonist isn’t able to accomplish this themselves and the help of a third party is required.
This is where you story comes to a conclusion, and all the questions that arise in the first and second acts are answered. Leaving open questions is not advised, and it leaves your audience feeling unresolved and unsatisfied.
Often times the major questions of the story aren’t answered until the very end of the story, where as a grand climax occurs and in dramatic fashion your story will end.
Try your best to not leave any questions that you have asked unanswered. often times your audience will always have more questions that you have time to answer, but as long as you didn’t dedicate time to asking them, you cannot be blamed for not answering them at the end.
Step 6: Images and Movies are Key to Help People Understand Your Story
Reupp as a platform is very powerful because it combines traditional storytelling tools (such as the written word) with more modern ones (such as images, movies, gifs, memes, etc.)
Use clear and descriptive language when describing your story and characters, but also use images to help your audience along for the ride. You can either:
- Use established images to showcase your ideas. This is often a good idea because these images already connect with people, so you will to spend less time to paint a clear image in people’s heads.
- Use your own images. Your sketches, paintings, etc. will also help people quickly see the image you are trying to put forth, but also add another level of uniqueness to your story.
Step 7: What is the Meaning of Your Story
The meaning of your story is something that is unique to the author. Your story is yours, and there should be a lot of you in the story. When someone reads your story, they should feel like they know something about the author by the end.
Draw from personal experiences, use real life events and people (but not too closely). The meaning of your story is, in other words, the point of your story. Why did you choose to right it? Why is it something the world needs? If you are having trouble answering these questions, perhaps it is wise to find another story where the answers to these questions come naturally. This will not only help you in creating the story (motivation to completion) but as well will influence the overall quality.