Using seven point structure

Posted: October 20, 2012 in Uncategorized
Tags: , , ,

This week, I’ve taken a lesson from Writing Excuses and tried the seven point story structure. It’s not the first structured plotting tool I’ve used, and it won’t be the last, but it was particularly useful.

I won’t go into the seven points – you can get that from the Writing Excuses episode or Dan Wells’s lecture. The important thing is that you plan your writing around seven key moments, most of them involving significant change. I found that seven points was pretty much a perfect amount for a short story. I could see how it would run to a decent length, but could still fit into a few thousand words.

The seven points helped to give focus to a story I’d been struggling with. In particular, working out the end state first and then starting from the opposite point gave the story and central character a dynamic arc they’d previously been lacking. Filling those seven key points also added a sense of transformation and tension that my story had previously lacked.

Seven point structure doesn’t do everything, by any means. I had to do a lot of thinking, and use another writing tool, before I even started with it. But I find that any new approach to structuring my thinking is useful, just to give me a different perspective, and I’ll be coming back to this one.

And best of all, I think my previously mentioned post-deluvian pirate story might now work. Though only if I can stop making excuses and get back to writing…

  1. […] like having structures to plan my writing around. They aren’t to stick rigidly to, but to give me a framework to start from. Royal sets out […]

  2. […] a big planner. I usually use Dan Wells’s seven point story structure when planning fiction, not because it’s necessarily better than other structures, but because […]

  3. […] background, motives, desires, conflicts. Based on the conflicts I plan out a plot, usually using Dan Wells’s seven point story structure because, again, I like templates – they remind me to put important things in. Somewhere in […]

  4. […] out each plotline separately without thinking about how they relate to each other. For this I use Dan Wells’s seven point story structure because it’s got a nice rising and falling rhythm to it and it’s what I’m used […]

  5. […] You can take the teacher out of the classroom but you can never entirely take the classroom out of the teacher. Hence the fact that Laura sometimes tells me off for using my ‘teacher voice’ with her, and that when I see people learning I want to build on it. So given several positive responses to my previous post on planning a novel, I thought I might spend a bit more time looking at how I use seven point story structure. […]

  6. […] structure has a lot in common with the seven point story structure favoured by Dan Wells, and which I use for almost all my stories. You don’t really start in the middle, you start […]

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