The Formula

Sometimes when I get stuck on a story or if I have a very basic idea, I tend to resort to the standard “damsel in distress” formula in order to flesh out the basic story structure.  I forget where I originally encountered this, but it’s always served as a basic guideline for filling in the blanks:

The formula is essentially this:

  1. Introduction
  2. Capture
  3. Rescue
  4. Quest
  5. Capture
  6. Escape
  7. Resumption of Quest
  8. Capture
  9. Rescue and/or Escape
  10. Conclusion

While always using the exact same structure can lead to (as the title would imply) “formulaic” stories, it can help fill in some blanks or jump-start the creative process if I get stuck.  For a less by-the-books structure, this can be mixed with Dan Wells’s Seven Point Story Structure to add some extra interest.

How do you feel about structured/formulaic stories?


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