The Basic Storyline
You could structure your novel the way you want it while you are writing and editing it. These are some basic guidelines on how you should format your story if you want to submit it to a potential publisher. Although this is not an absolute industry standard, it is a more organized format. Publishing companies have different submission requirements; this set-up covers most of what will be required. However, it is always best to verify the submission guidelines of any publishing company before you submit your story. If there is not a formatting requirement, you can always fall back on this structure to get you through the process.
The entire storyline should be divided into 3 main sections:
- Beginning Dilemma- A story’s intro is vital to the overall work. It is where the reader decides whether to continue reading or stop. By setting up a beginning dilemma, you set the reader’s expectations and encourage them to continue through to the end.
- Middle (agitation) – After you have overcome the first hurdle, the beginning dilemma, your next challenge will be outlining the story to keep the reader invested throughout the story. You should already have an idea of how the story will end but that may change while creating the plots necessary along the way. These plots must be interesting so that your reader remains engaged and invested in the outcome of your story.
Beginnings excite people because they introduce something compelling to the reader. Endings are thrilling because every part of the book is culminating towards a grand finale. Middles, on the other hand, should contain something that agitates the reader. It is where the plot of the story grips the reader causing a deeper emotional response within the reader than the beginning dilemma did and it is also where most of the action takes place.
- End (solution) – At this point, the protagonists has everything he needs to know. He possesses all the elements that he must have in order to provide the solution to the beginning dilemma. At this point, the main character comes forward and delivers everything to reach his goal, save the day, become famous, get rich, solve the crime, whatever it is that is needed to accomplish what is associated with the success to the dilemma.
There are stories where the hero actually dies in the end but before they do, they should have solved the dilemma they faced in the beginning of the story.
Within the story, there are 8 parts that constitute the three main sections mentioned above. They are:
- The Trigger Event. It should be an incident or a series of events that captures the reader and keeps him glued to the story.
- Set up problem. It is a series of occurrences that leads to the creation of the main problem. It is the part where you build and develop the characters.
- Dilemma. The initial problem.
- Recovery from the initial dilemma. It is the portion you ease the tension a bit and help speed up the story
- Conflict is what drives the story. There are 3 major types of conflicts in a story:
- Conflicting will of two people
- Conflicting will within the main character
- Conflicting will of several people
6 Intensification of the conflict. You can build up this portion of the story by adding suspense and mystery through creating issues that the hero has to overcome.
7 Climax. This is the peak, culminating all the suspense and mystery in the story. It is the do or die situation.